Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creating Shared Value with Employee Productivity

I found the “Creating Shared Value” [1] article very interesting.  It highlighted that companies can create economic and social benefits to society that contribute in a positive way to their bottom line.  I am especially interested in the method of redefining productivity in the value chain.  Employee productivity has been a major topic that has been focused on in my Population Health class this semester. 
Dr. Agrawal, National Medical Director of Highmark, spoke to our class about how Highmark is working with employers to help them improve their employee health and wellness, thus reducing health expenditures and improving productivity.  Highmark helps employers to identify problem areas and risk factors where they can then focus improvements. 
While absenteeism is thought to be one of the major decreases of employee productivity, Dr. Agrawal pointed out that “presenteeism” is also a huge problem.  Presenteeism is when an employee goes to work when he or she is sick and less productivity.  Dr. Agrawal stated that individuals that have headaches work an average of 3.5 hours less per week, and individuals with back pain work an average of 5.2 hours less per week.  He also explained that smoking is a huge problem for productivity.  Four 10 minute smoke breaks per day equates to working an entire month less than nonsmokers per year. 
Improving employee health and wellness is a great example of creating shared value.  It is a service to employees to assist them in becoming healthier, but it also serves the company financially to have health, more productive employees.   
[1] Porter, M. E., and Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value: How to reinvent capitalism –and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, January-February 2011. 

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