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By Denise Christy
I live and work in Michigan – the heartland of manufacturing – and have been lucky enough to see the positive effects of profit sharing in action. After all, profit sharing is one of the major strategies that helped save the automotive industry. Simply put, profit sharing is an excellent motivator for both labor and management that has ushered in a new era of management thinking that combines job creation and sustainability.
Creativity in finding new ways to drive profits has to be at the center of every leader’s agenda, especially in the case of the healthcare industry. And while retooling, new programming, process engineering and waste management efforts are on overdrive, it seems the best way to drive profits is to ramp up the productivity of our greatest asset: our workforce.
According to Gallup and countless other studies, higher productivity is gained when workers are healthy, happy and fully engaged in their work. More companies nowadays are investing heavily in wellness programs. For every dollar spent, these companies are finding a three-to-one return of investment through lower healthcare costs, lower absenteeism and increased productivity.
So what if we could really drive those programs into a formula that would be calculated into a profit sharing bonus? What kind of incredible outcomes could be achieved? Imagine getting paid to be healthy and happy. This isn’t just employees simply getting a free water bottle or a stress ball. I am talking about employees receiving real hard cash for making healthy life-style decisions. That would be a game changer.
I can’t help but think how beneficial it would be if there was a collective effort that allowed a team or company to design strategies, support systems and reward structures that allowed them to lower their time lost due to illness. What if they got paid for finding ways to reduce cost of errors due to stress or lack of sleep? Those employees would be proactively giving themselves more personal accountability for unnecessary benefit costs for disabilities, medical and workers compensation.
If the money spent on programs were jointly invested by the employer and labor, what would change? Would on-site clinics become primary care hubs for employees and their families so folks get back to work quicker?
To me, the answer of what businesses would be like if we were paid for being happy and healthy is simple; we would be the most productive workforce in the world. And just imagine what we could do with those profits.
Denise Christy is the president of Humana’s offices in Michigan and Indiana.