Healthways claims that a new study is the first to reliably link well-being with employee performance outcomes, showing that well-being - apart from being an indicator of health care status and cost - can help predict job performance.

People who have low well-being, the Healthways study concludes, are twice as likely to have high health care claims costs and four times more likely to visit the emergency room or take short-term disability days.

But health conditions, as they often do, bleed into other aspects of organizational performance. Those with low well-being are seven times more likely to have absences and 47 times more likely to have high presenteeism, according to the study.

And it doesn't stop there: Those in the low well-being group are seven times more likely to have low job performance and twice as likely to have low intention of staying with the same employer.

The findings show that "people can be classified based on their different levels of well-being and productivity risks, which can help employers create programs to both reduce health care costs and improve productivity," says lead author Dr. Yuyan Shi of the center for health research at Healthways. "The study is relevant to any entity concerned about business outcomes, especially employers, health plans and health systems.

"Also, it is directly relevant to human resources and benefits managers who are focused on improving employees' health and productivity."

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