OPM has issued a memo to agencies stressing the business case for employees to participate in health and wellness programs, the first step in a campaign that will include informational fact sheets, webinar trainings, and facilitated discussions among those responsible for the implementation of such programs at agency worksites.

“As work demands increase, budgets tighten, healthcare costs reach an all-time high, and federal employees reach retirement eligibility, the federal government must take steps to ensure our continued success and continuity,” it said. “A healthier workforce can improve productivity, increase employee engagement, reduce costs associated with healthcare, disability, and workers’ compensation, and make each agency an employer of choice.”

Attachments to the memo include fact sheets on the business cases for agencies, employees and communities, as well as one on creating a “culture of health.” The business case for agencies, it says, include improved productivity, more energized employees who are better engaged in their work, reduced health care costs and workers’ compensation costs, and being a more attractive employer for recruitment and retention purposes.

Creating a culture of health, according to that fact sheet, requires that agency senior leaders and managers “encourage participation, allocate necessary resources, and celebrate successes.” These can be accomplished for example through operation of a worksite health and wellness coordinator, council or committee. Regular evaluation of the programs is needed, it added, to determine if they are meeting their desired outcomes, to make needed improvements, ensure effective programs are continued and that resources are not wasted on those that are ineffective.