A New Look at Getting an Edge in Business


    TORONTO, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - During tough times, having an edge in business
may be the difference between success and failure. A new report from the
Shepell-fgi Research Group looks at ways organizations can get an edge, with
practical steps that reduce costs and increase productivity.
    "Every business strategy must be implemented by employees," said Rod
Phillips, President and CEO of Shepell-fgi. "Generally, intangibles such as
flexibility and judgment account for how well a strategy is executed. Health
has an impact on these functions, and as such, it impacts productivity." While
health may be seen as a business advantage, the absence of health is a concern
in terms of direct costs as well as productivity.
    "Employee absences are an obvious cost to any business," said Karen
Seward, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at
Shepell-fgi. "Because absence is hard to ignore, many employers focus on the
process of getting people back to work, without ensuring that employees get
the help they need to resolve the reason the absence occurred in the first
    The findings of the Shepell-fgi Research Group show that when absence and
disability management services are focused on workplace health programs, such
as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Training, the cost savings range
from 16% to 61% when compared to previous costs. "This is money that goes
directly to the bottom line," said Seward. "In addition, there are opportunity
costs from healthy employees and reduced absence that provide further
benefits." In an integrated approach to health and absence management, the
greatest improvements are seen when employers provide a structured outreach
program to employees in need.
    A change in an employee's work habits or a brief absence may indicate the
need for support. It's important to reassure employees that there are
resources available to help solve issues such as financial strain, as well as
significant personal health and emotional concerns. These services are
generally available from an EAP, and should be leveraged at the appropriate
    "Integrating an EAP with Absence and Disability Management, works because
it make sense," said Paula Allen, Vice President of the Shepell-fgi Research
Group. "Whether an employee is on the job or absent, they should be offered
the same support services, but in a more focused way," Allen continues,
"Shepell-fgi's data shows that a critical opportunity arises within the first
1 to 3 days of an absence. Many disability management programs begin long
after this period. Leaving someone on their own to flounder during the early
stage of an absence is a missed opportunity. Employers will be less able to
afford this expense in tough times and in a competitive business environment."

    To download a full copy of the report please visit

    About Shepell-fgi
    Shepell-fgi is Canada's leading provider of workplace health and
productivity services, including prevention-focused Employee Assistance
Programs, Health and Disability Management, Organizational Health and Global
Services. The company services over six million employees and their families
across Canada, the United States and internationally. Shepell-fgi helps
organizations maintain healthy employees and healthy workplaces. The
Shepell-fgi Research group, a division of Shepell-fgi, has a mandate to
educate employers and business leaders on physical, mental and social health
issues as these factors impact employees, their families and their workplaces.
The Shepell-fgi Research Group offers a precise understanding of health and
wellness trends by conducting sector and issue-based analysis. Since 2004, the
Shepell-fgi research group has published thirteen issue based reports and
sixteen sector based reports.

For further information:

For further information: Stephanie Baumann, Senior Manager, Marketing
Communications, Shepell-fgi, Phone: (416) 355-5609, Email:

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