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CFOs view employee health as affecting the bottom line: Survey

CFOs view employee health as affecting the bottom line: Survey

Most chief financial officers say employee health plays a part in a company's overall financial performance and that the role of CFOs is growing in their organizations' health investment decisions, research from the Integrated Benefits Institute concludes.

However, most CFOs say they face substantial information deficits in areas they view as helpful in measuring health-related lost productivity, such as return on investment analysis from health interventions or the cost of absence days.

Other key findings of IBI's report, “Making Health the CFO's Business,” include:

• Eight in 10 CFOs report that finance professionals play a role in their organizations' health care benefits decisions, usually in collaboration with human resources and executive leadership, and often with operations.

• More than two-thirds of CFOs surveyed agree that health is a cultural or financial priority in their organizations, while 75% agree that providing comprehensive health care coverage is important for their company's financial strategy.

• More than 90% of CFOs surveyed believe that improving health is at least a moderately important contributor to workforce productivity.

• By a more than 2-1 margin, CFOs view their company's claim costs as more credible measures of the impact of health on financial performance than external measures. They are especially wary of advice from suppliers they perceive to have a financial interest in decisions about improving employee health.

• Six in 10 CFOs indicate that poor workforce health significantly affects financial performance through increased health care costs, while four in 10 cite a significant impact through increased sick days.

“This research shows how CFOs crystallize the impact of health on financial performance and on productivity, and particularly focuses on the kinds of information critical to their health investment decisions,” IBI President Thomas Parry said in a statement.

San Francisco-based IBI collaborated with CFO Research Services, the research arm of CFO Publishing L.L.C., in conducting last summer's survey of 313 CFOs, controllers, directors, vps of finance and treasurers at firms of varying sizes across a range of industries.

A summary of findings is available online. The complete report is available only to IBI members.