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Do small businesses need to concern themselves with the health of their employees?

First off, what exactly is a small business?

A small business can be generally described as: a privately owned and operated business that is for profit, is not dominant in its field and has a small number of employees.

Once you start to get into specifics of defining a small business it gets infinitely more confusing. For example the number of employees any business can have varies by the country you are working in. The number of employees also varies according to the type of business you operate. For example according to the US Small Business Administration a manufacturing business in the US can employee up to 1500 workers and still be considered a small business. (To me 1500 employees would be a big business). Prior to 2012 the rule of thumb when it came to the number of employees was 500. If you employed less than 500 employees you were considered a small business.

There are also revenue restrictions, each type of business has its own unique amount of income that it can collect before it jumps out of the small business category.

When I think of small businesses, I think of my accountant an office of two. My brother in law runs a business with his brother, again an office of two and if things get too crazy a temporary secretary. My dry cleaner has about 5 employees. My uncle runs a carpet cleaning business. He employees between 3 and 7 workers depending on the work load. I have a friend who works in the architecture construction business they have an office of 10. I know an owner of a local Curves business again 6 to 10 employees depending on business. Or what about the companies that mow your lawn or clean your pool, these are the small business people that keep their business running with a handful of employees.

An advocacy group, the National Federation of Independent Business states that 70% of its members have 10 or fewer employees.

If you have 10 or fewer employees, you may not even offer health care insurance. Your employees may be buying health insurance on their own or if they are lucky have a spouse that can put them on their health coverage. However a healthy workforce is still in your best interest and encouraging them to develop healthy habits will help both of you.

Always remember, no matter what the size of your company, good employees are: Hard to find, costly to train and important to keep.

Have your employees take a health risk assessment questionnaire (HRA).

A good free health risk assessment that is based on sound scientific research, does not sell your personal information and provides an easy to read report can be found at www.healthstatus.com.

A health risk assessment will:

Establish a Base Line

A health risk assessment can give you unique information in to how you stack up to your peers. A health risk assessment can give you a base line of where you are at right now with your health. Not where you want to be (don’t fudge the numbers) where you are right now. An assessment gives you that picture in a statistical way. Not an emotional way.

Reveal Areas of Risk

OK when it comes to our health even the fittest person may have a cholesterol number that they are not happy with. So don’t beat yourself up in the comparison game. But you may not realize some small changes that you could make that can improve your overall health picture. A health risk assessment can make you aware of your potential risk areas.

Is your alcohol consumption outside of healthy?

Is your weight adding to your health risks?

Does your family history of certain diseased make you more likely to experience some common health problems that you need to be aware of?

Did you realize that having a large baby can increase your risk for diabetes? Well it can. So you may want to watch for warning signs of becoming diabetic if you have had a large baby.

Quantify Improvement

How do you know when you’ve gotten better at something? If your golf score lowers, you’re doing better. If you can run (or in my case walk) a mile faster this year than you could last year, you would agree you are improving your speed? If you get a better score on this year’s attempt at the bar exam, you know you are getting closer to your goal.

When it comes to your health how do you know you are getting healthier? After 6 months, take a new health risk assessment and compare your new report with your old report. Remember your first assessment established some base line numbers. You are a little older now, and hopefully you have improved some of your habits. It is time to take another assessment. This time you will have the old numbers to compare your score with. Are you getting healthier? Are your risk area percentages decreasing?

You can now examine the numbers! Yea hopefully your scores are improving, your risks diminishing and you feel and look better.

Provide Helpful Resources

An assessment often will provide you with resources whether online or paper pamphlets that give you specific information on helping with risk areas. If you are struggling with weight gain, there are many approaches to help you lose weight from weight watchers to supplements. Or maybe you just need to know how long you need to walk every day to burn those excess calories. Many assessments will provide you with links if online or free information to help you get to where you want to go. At least the good assessments will. But if you find the assessment you have taken does not you can ask your doctor for information on your areas of risk, check out books in the library, or go online and internet search the specific information you desire.

Now you have armed your employees with specific information they can each use to improve their health.

No matter what the size of your workforce happy, healthy employees are more productive, less likely to quit, and will take off fewer sick days. That is good news for you. So even if you are so small you can’t offer health insurance supporting your employees in getting healthier helps everyone.

Free health risk assessments can be taken by individuals at HealthStatus.com click on the assessment tab. There are 5 free assessments that can provide individuals with all the information they need to begin to improve their health.

For small business that want aggregate group reporting HealthStatus.com has an employer based package for under $800 for up to 350 employees. Go to http://HRA.net.

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