A Sense of Purpose Makes Everything Better

This post is part of a series on Value-Based Care.

As my colleague, Renya Spak, described so well in a recent blog post, population health management is a key component of what’s known as the Social Determinants of Health, or SDOH. Although the term “population health management” may seem clinical, it is much broader than it sounds. Each of us is more than our health challenges: Emotional, financial, work and social factors are all critical to achieving optimal health. So is having a sense of purpose.

Progressive employers are thinking beyond the physical, emotional and financial perspectives to SDOH. Some of the important social/community aspects of SDOH include access to fresh produce, bike lanes and parks, percentage of healthy eating establishments, and so on. Employers can have an impact on these factors through their focus on sustainability and charitable support of the communities where employees and their families reside. In fact, some employers are pursuing worksite certifications or participating in community certifications demonstrating efforts towards establishing a healthy environment.

Then there is the concept of purpose. We know that purpose affects not only a company’s bottom line, but it also the health and engagement of the workforce. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that 85% of purpose-led organizations show positive revenue growth compared to 42% of non-purpose-led organizations.  And a global survey of LinkedIn members that 48% of 51+ year olds are purpose-oriented, compared to 30% of 18-25 year olds and 38% of 36-50 year olds, which underscores the need to ensure that workers have high levels of purpose while employed, in preparation for retirement, and into retirement. Additionally, sense of purpose is associated with lower risk of mortality, heart disease, stroke, disability, pain, and depression.

To stay ahead of the curve in employee benefits, look to social determinants of health. Promoting community health and helping instill a sense of purpose in your workforce could become critical components of your strategy.

Register for Mercer US Health News to receive weekly e-mail updates.