Houston speech

See Slide Deck HERE

I am honored to address you today.  I particularly want to thank Chris Skisak.  My subject is how CEOs should create “cultures of health” in their organizations.

The first slide is from a 2016 Global Wellness Institute study, and it succinctly captures this speech’s theme:  CEOs can either create a virtuous cycle through a supportive culture that produces great health, which reinforces that culture, or a vicious cycle of poor management that leads to poor health, which causes organizational results to deteriorate.     (Slide 2)

Dr. Ray Fabius, from whom you will hear more later, has created a portfolio of public companies with strong cultures of health.  He tracked their performance over a multi-year period.  This 40-company portfolio has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 index over that time.

Most CEOs understand their talent’s value.  They focus heavily on recruitment, retention, development, and loyalty.  What’s missing is sufficient focus on employee health and well-being.

Great coaches and managers understand that great athletes unable to play because of illness or injury are of no value.  Injured or ill athletes not at full strength are of far less value. They make sure athletes are ready to play at full capacity.

Illnesses or injuries that cause excessive absences cause all organizations to function at sub-optimal capacity, and for large self-insured employers, health benefit costs can make an otherwise profitable business unprofitable, or, at a minimum, significantly reduce profit margins.

CEOs treat employee health and wellbeing and healthcare cost containment as separable issues.  They are not.  Moreover, they delegate health management to HR and Benefits staff members, outside benefits consultants and third-party administrators because they fail to understand that what they do matters far more.

I will describe what matters most to employee health and well-being and what CEOs need to be doing differently to maximize employee health, well-being, productivity, development, work quality, and loyalty.  I will describe very different key performance indicators and actions than what CEOs are customarily presented by consultants and benefits administrators.

No successful organization-wide program succeeds when fully delegated to staff functions.  Enterprise software programs routinely failed in their early days because CEOs delegated them to IT.  They only succeeded when embraced as organization-wide imperatives led by CEO-empowered operations officers.  “Cultures of health” must work the same way.