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A body at rest wants to remain at rest, and a body in motion wants to stay in motion, unless acted upon by other forces.

Newton’s first law applies to health and wellbeing as much as it does physics.


Employee health checks have been around for as long as workplace wellbeing has, and they have always produced mixed opinions on their effectiveness.

Some people say they are a vital part of keeping your workforce healthy, and others say they are at best lip service and at worst a way to further marginalise the unhealthy.

Spoiler alert, none of these are true.

Employee health checks are not ‘vital’ to your organisation. Your company will not crumble if you don’t get them done annually.

Nor are they a way to keep tabs on the unhealthy people in an organisation.

What they are is a useful tool in the prevention of health issues both for your employees and organisation, and a way for you to discover areas of risk in order to guide future initiatives.

If you are thinking of introducing them, here are a few of the pros, and ways to get around the cons, to help you decide if they’re right for your organisation.



Increase awareness: Many of your people do not go to the doctor regularly and have no idea what’s going on inside them. A simple health check can help to draw attention to this fact and give them the nudge they need to start looking after themselves.

Prevent illness: Chronic illness shows very few, if any, outward signs until it manifests fully. But, there are big clues in people’s lifestyles and biomarkers, which are the very things a health check looks at. Prevention is far better than cure and to prevent, you first have to know.

Identify risk areas: Health checks can help an individual discover the areas of risk in their lives, and help an organisation discover the areas of risk in their employees. If we’re going to change things, we first need to know what has to change.

Guide health initiatives: Once areas of risk are identified, we can put in place strategies to mitigate them. There’s no point introducing a smoking cessation program if very few of your people smoke, but it may be worth looking at a plan to boost activity if you have a mostly sedentary workforce. Identify, then treat. This is medicine 101.

Provide the right advice at the right time: Your staff may know, or at least suspect, what’s going on inside them but not know what to do about it. A health check is typically an assessment followed by a frank discussion which could be just the kick in the bum a person needs to finally decide to get off the couch and start getting healthier.

Track trend data: Tracking trend data over time is invaluable when it comes to health. If a person’s cholesterol is in a slightly elevated risk range that might be fantastic because last year it was extremely elevated, or it might be terrible because last year it was perfectly healthy. By tracking trend data over time we can know with certainty if the interventions we have introduced are working or not. This works just as well on an organisational level as it does an individual one.



Using it for the wrong reasons: Health checks are not a health ‘screen’. They are not used to ‘weed out’ the unhealthy or marginalise them in any way. Use health checks only to benefit your employees, and make sure they know that, or you will get very low engagement and damage the trust your employees have in you.

Perceived lack of privacy: Health data is and should be a very personal thing. Many people are reluctant to have it shared, particularly with their employer, and for good reason. Ensure your people know that their individual data is strictly confidential and that this health check is for their benefit. In addition, ensure you use a reputable provider with the appropriate cyber security to collect this data to make sure it stays locked up tight.

Health inertia: The same reason people don’t go to the doctor is the same reason they might not come to a health check, they don’t want to know what’s wrong with them. In this, a health check is the easiest way to nudge them into action. Make it as easy as possible for people to take part, and potentially incentivise their involvement with a free lunch or activity, to help get to the people who really need to be there.

The results aren’t explained: In order for your health checks to be meaningful your people have to understand what their results mean for them. That means not only taking measurements but explaining what those measurements mean in the context of their lives. Do they have high cholesterol? What are the causes and likely outcomes of that? Is their blood pressure high? How does that happen and what can they do to improve it? Ensure whoever is running your health checks is taking your people through their results and providing some context around what they mean so they can be better equipped to improve them.

Lack of follow through: A big criticism of health checks is that they are a one off and provide no real value beyond seeing where people currently are. If you don’t follow through with any initiatives and follow ups, this is true. Ensure you use the valuable data you’ve gathered to guide future initiatives and make sure to conduct checks every year so your people can see that this is something worthwhile that will benefit them long term.

Health checks are not a panacea, nor should they make up the entirety of your health and wellbeing program. They are simply a useful tool for you and your people to assess their fundamental health and use this information to improve it.

They have many benefits, but in order to realise them you have to do it right.

This is something we’ve been doing for years and we’ve gotten very good at it, so if health checks are something you’re considering, get in touch to find out how you can implement them easily and effectively in your organisation.



If getting the right advice at the right time could help just one of your people avoid serious illness, would that be worth it?


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