By: Tamsyn Parker

Employers may be able to measure how well rested or stressed out their staff are under a new corporate wellness programme set to be rolled out by health insurer Southern Cross.

Nick Astwick, chief executive of Southern Cross Health Care Society, said the insurer wanted to move away from just paying claim bills to encouraging better health and wellness.

Corporate funded healthcare is already a big part of its business with around half of all premiums paid for by employers.

But now it wants to expand its offering into preventative care with a wellness programme based on an internal programme which it has run in-house for the last 12 years.

The society incentivises staff to exercise and sleep well and provides education programmes to help people manage their money and support good mental health.

Astwick says the programme has helped it significantly reduce staff turnover – it has fallen by 31 per cent in the last three years – and increase engagement and productivity.

Its new corporate programme involves three parts.

The clinical side will offer a one-stop shop with physical health assessments and support for mental health as well as flu jabs and rehabilitation post injury.

It also plans roll out a data collection programme that will encourage people to monitor their sleep, what they eat and how much they move in a day.

The third step will takes insights gathered from the data to help employers understand the health of their workforce and to measure it over time to see if changes made improve the health of staff.

Astwick said employers would not be able to see individual data which would be aggregated together to give trend information.

He said privacy was a priority for Southern Cross and only people who wanted to take part would provide information. It would be a subscriber service.

Astwick said once employers had data and insight they could choose to act on that information.

He believes programmes like this could help boost productivity.

“New Zealand needs to improve its productivity as a nation.”

Source: NZ Herald

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