The development of a new corporate specific health risk measurement instrument, and its use in investigating the relationship between health and well-being and employee productivity

Environ Health. 2005 Jan 28;4(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-4-1.


Background: There is a growing body of evidence linking health and well-being to key business issues. Despite this, corporate uptake of workplace health promotion programmes has been slow outside the USA. One possible reason for this is the lack of a generally available health risk measure that is quick and easy to administer and produces data that is rich enough to inform and direct subsequent employee health promotional interventions.

Methods: We report on the development and validation of the health and well-being (HWB) assessment, a free to use health risk appraisal questionnaire that has been specifically developed for use in the corporate setting. The HWB assessment focuses upon modifiable health issues that directly impact upon business drivers. Development involved interviews with business leaders to ascertain their key areas of focus, scientific and general literature review to find evidence for health status having an impact upon these areas, and end user testing.Three UK-based organisations (insurance, telecommunications and consumer goods sectors) participated in the research. A total of 2224 employees completed the HWB assessment, the short-form 36 (SF-36) and the World Health Organisation Health and Work Performance questionnaire (WHO-HPQ) as part of the validation process.

Results: The HWB assessment is a twenty item questionnaire covering ten areas of health and well-being. Completion of the HWB assessment generates a global health risk score and ten sub-scores corresponding to the ten areas covered. It is easy to use and quick to complete (average completion time was eight minutes) and showed good internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Statistically significant correlations with similar SF-36 variables were observed. A significant negative correlation between HWB score and productivity decrement, as measured by the WHO-HPQ, was observed (r = -0.4). Individuals with HWB scores above the 25th percentile were more likely to achieve workplace productivity standards than those with scores below the 25th percentile (OR 3.62, 95% confidence limits 2.93 - 4.47).

Conclusion: The HWB assessment generates reliable business focused health risk data that can be used to direct and target appropriate interventions within corporate populations. It may also be useful in quantifying the financial impact health status issues have upon organisations.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Efficiency*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal*
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Sick Leave
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom