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Increasing workforce productivity requires employer and employee commitment to total health

Mar 6, 2018

Morneau Shepell white paper examines how to achieve the behaviour change needed to boost productivity

TORONTO, March 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Efforts to increase workforce productivity have focused on upgraded technology, process improvement and better governance. A white paper released by Morneau Shepell suggests that it is now time to tackle the most complex element of improving workforce productivity: ensuring commitments to total health from employers and employees.

Total health: the last piece of the workforce productivity puzzle by Dr. Bill Howatt, chief research and development officer, workforce productivity, Morneau Shepell, explained that workforce productivity (the amount of services or goods a workforce produces within an expressed time and budget) improves when each employee contributes more to the organization's collective effort. The white paper's key premise is that, in order to maximize employee contribution levels, organizations and individuals must work together to improve employee total health.

"There is no silver bullet – no single policy, procedure or program – that will solve the challenge of how to enable every employee to be able to contribute at the top of their game in an effort to improve productivity," said Dr. Howatt. "No two human beings have the same capacity, needs and motivation, making the ability to influence employees complex."

Two-way accountability for total health
The solution, as explained in the white paper, is to focus on total health. The Morneau Shepell approach is based on the principle that improving employee productivity requires proactively influencing four key areas: physical health, mental health, workplace health and life health (healthy finances and relationships) through a two-way accountability model.

"This point of view represents a shift from the traditional model where the expectation is that the employer's role is to fix everything," said Dr. Howatt. "The employer-employee partnership model begins with education and change management so that employees understand why the employer cares about their health, followed by their participation in improving their own health."

Flexible model, tangible results
In order to arrive at a plan for identifying and implementing measures that will drive workforce productivity, the authors of the white paper identified a flexible five-stage approach that can be adapted to an organization's particular needs. The five stages of Morneau Shepell's total health model are:

  1. Define the problem: Frame the employer's current situation, needs and desired outcomes, as well as why it is valuable to take action now.
  2. Investigate: Survey employees to uncover their perceptions, preferably using a survey tool that uses predictive analytics and social science to identify drivers that are impacting workforce productivity.
  3. Develop a strategy: Using the survey results, determine the organization's needs and objectives.
  4. Implement: Outline programs and solutions that support the organization.
  5. Evaluate: Determine the methodology that will be used to measure return on investment.

"The central element of Morneau Shepell's total health approach is dual accountability: employer support leads to employee action," stated Dr. Howatt. "When both an organization and its people focus on improving total health, the result is an increase in workforce productivity and better business results."

The white paper, Total health: the last piece of the workforce productivity puzzle, can be downloaded here.

About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is the only human resources consulting and technology company that takes an integrated approach to employee assistance, health, benefits and retirement needs. The Company is the leading provider of employee and family assistance programs, the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. As a leader in strategic HR consulting and innovative pension design, the Company helps clients solve complex workforce problems and provides integrated productivity, health and retirement solutions. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves approximately 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations. With more than 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit

SOURCE Morneau Shepell Inc.

For further information: Heather MacDonald, Morneau Shepell, 416.390.2625,

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