Ep 197 – Employer Leadership in the Cultivation of a Healthy Workforce, with Dr. Richard Safeer

     A new era in value-based care is emerging where employers are no longer sleeping giants willing to tolerate a broken fee-for-service healthcare system. ‘Poor health’ costs employers $575B in lost productivity on top of the $880B they already spend in premium dollars annually. Employers (and their employees) continued to get fleeced by unsustainable double-digit premium increases every year, with hospitals using that excess spend in commercial insurance to their subsidize losses on the public pay side. The paradigm shift to value-based purchasing is underway in employer-based health insurance; however, it will not achieve the aims of population health unless a similar transformation occurs in workforce wellbeing.
     Joining us this week in the Race to Value is Dr. Richard Safeer, the Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-being at Johns Hopkins Medicine, where he leads the Healthy at Hopkins employee health and well-being strategy.  Dr. Safeer is a highly influential thought leader on building a culture of health and is the author of the groundbreaking new book, “A Cure for the Common Company: A Well-Being Prescription for a Hopper, Healthier, and More Resilient Workforce.” In this interview you will hear from one of the leading experts on employee health in our country about what it takes to cultivate a healthy workforce.
Episode Bookmarks:
01:30 Introduction to Richard Safeer, M.D. and “A Cure for the Common Company
04:45 Developing a holistic view where we look at individuals as both patients and employees.
05:15 “Until we integrate a strategy that includes the workplace, we are not likely to optimize population health.”
06:00 The economic and cultural imperatives for workforce well-being.
06:30 A key factor in achieving health goals is the support of people you are closest to at home and at work.
07:45 Connecting the spectrum of employee health from well-being to chronic disease.
08:30 Why have attempts at corporate wellness failed so often in the past?
09:30 “Our health and well-being are greatly influenced by the relationships we have in the workplace.”
10:00 Most employers do not fully leverage the social sciences to optimize the support of their workforce.
10:45 Innovative self-funded health insurance as a requisite component of a corporate wellness strategy.
12:30 How a company benefits from a healthy workforce.
13:45 Innovations to create access to high quality primary care and lifestyle medicine (e.g. Direct Primary Care and onsite clinics).
17:00 Employers must fully leverage all resources (e.g. data from health insurers, EAPs, collaboration with local health systems).
18:30 The 6 Building Blocks of a Wellbeing Culture.
20:45 Making it easier for employees to make healthy choices.
21:30 The influence of social climate in the workplace.
22:30 The plight of healthcare workforce burnout and moral injury.
23:45 We need supportive work environments to produce good health (not paternalism).
25:00 “Employers who demonstrate genuine care and back it up with genuine resources to support health and well-being will be the ones to attract and retain talent.”
25:30 Resiliency does not rest solely on the individual!
26:00 Employees cannot maintain mental health if their work doesn’t align with education and skill set.
27:00 Social connections to team and trust in management improves resiliency.
29:00 70-80% of employees are willing to take a pay cut to get a job that better supports their mental health (see UKG study)
30:00 Balancing the need for social connection with remote work.
32:00 One-size fits all decisions about onsite work doesn’t make sense for all employees.
33:30 Cisco Systems as an exemplar of a workplace culture for health and well-being.
36:00 The role of technology in health is superseded in importance by the workplace, home, and community settings.
37:00 How technology can be leveraged to foster community, communication, tracking, and data collection.
38:00 The over-reliance of biometrics.
39:00 Lifestyle Medicine as a foundation to a culture of wellness.
40:00 How LM at Johns Hopkins has been successful in improving employee health.
43:00 New Year’s Resolutions – advice from Dr. Safeer how to achieve success by using the workplace.
45:30 Connect with Dr. Safeer and learn more about his thought leadership.