Lucy Whitehall: Employers must decide which metrics to use for health data

As a charity that specialises in promoting the idea of health and wellbeing to chartered accountants and their employers, we are often asked about providing evidence that health and wellbeing strategies can have a measureable impact on a business and its employees.


A vital first step is for employers to understand what relevant metrics are telling them. They should look at absence and turnover figures, referrals to occupational health specialists, and employee engagement and satisfaction scores.

For example, we have recently completed research that shows that 32% of chartered accountants admit to experiencing feelings of stress on a daily basis, with twice as many taking time off work due to stress in 2013 as the previous year. This latter statistic would catch the eye of a finance manager.

Proof of effectiveness

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Having established that issues exist, employers need to prove that the adoption of their health and wellbeing strategies can have a positive effect on staff.

Employers may consider referring to research such as the World Economic Forum’s paper, The Wellness Imperative, Creating more effective organisations, published in 2010, which demonstrates that if health and wellbeing are actively promoted in the workplace, organisations are 2.5 times more likely to be a top performer in their market sector.

Such information should give employers all the information and confidence that they need to be able to talk to their finance department about structuring a health and wellbeing strategy and putting in place well-defined objectives.


Employers should consider how they will measure strategy success, the frequency of the reviews that they will conduct and their required budget.

Ultimately, employers need to be able to persuade their finance directors that promoting health and wellbeing within their organisation is just another way of pursuing the old maxim that a happy workforce is a productive workforce and that this assertion should, and can, be measured and proven.

Lucy Whitehall is wellbeing manager at the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association