Harvard, IBM calling for companies to report on employee health


By Jessica Bartlett

Representatives from Harvard University, IBM and a slew of others are calling for companies to release reports on the health of their employees as part of annual financial reporting.

Announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the initiative comes courtesy of the Vitality Institute, which brought together representatives from more than a dozen companies and a handful of universities for over a year to discuss if and how the health of a company’s workforce should be made available to the public.

Vitality, a member of Discovery Ltd., has some skin in the game here. The company offers incentive-based health and wellbeing programs to employers.

The American Heart Association, Humana, and Novo Nordisk have also signed on to the initiative.

The bottom line is increased transparency behind a company’s greatest asset and biggest liability – it’s workforce.

According to three studies published in this month’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, companies with high-performing employee wellness programs outperformed the Standard & Poor’s index by 7 to 16 percent each year.

Though a number of academics and companies are calling for increased transparency, Vitality said work will continue to nail down how to incorporate health metrics into corporate reporting.

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