Using data is critical because:

  • it measures your baseline,
  • it identifies your organization’s unique risks and opportunities, and
  • it ensures you’re focusing your efforts in the right place while building your MSK health strategy.

No two organizations are alike – and approaches to physical health must reflect these differences.

Key element:

Using data to measure outcomes is the key to a sound workplace MSK health strategy. Decide early on how you will benchmark success. Make the champion or member of your MSK health committee accountable.

This means:

  • tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). Most organizations track metrics quarterly. Be sure to link the MSK health KPIs to your broader performance goals.
  • using data to measure progress
  • deciding which actions have been effective and which haven’t
  • using data to decide next steps 

Using different types of data will ensure a comprehensive approach to your strategy and programs. Be sure to include: 

  • quantitative (objective) data
  • qualitative (subjective) data 
  • leading indicators (events leading up to/predictive of future outcomes), and
  • lagging indicators (events that have happened in the past).  

It’s critical to protect the privacy of your employees. Use aggregate data to ensure confidentiality. Here are some examples of data to consider collecting: 

  • demographic data
  • absenteeism rates
  • top disability claim diagnostic categories 
  • return-to-work and accommodation data
  • turnover rates
  • benchmark data — how does your data compare with organizations:
    • within the same industry 
    • with the same benefit plan design
  • benefit utilization rates (extended health care) 
  • disability relapse rates 
  • worker’s compensation data
  • Employee & Family Assistance Program (EAP/EFAP) data
  • Employee Engagement Survey scores and responses 
  • Health Risk Assessment trends
  • costs associated with disability and casual absences

The next step is a critical analysis of the data. Remember to compare trends across different departments and locations. The data can help you answer the following questions: 

  • What are you doing well?
  • What are your opportunities? 
  • Are you moving in the right direction? 
  • What do employee comments tell you? 
  • Is there alignment between senior leaders and your employees on their view of your workplace culture?  
  • How are employees using their benefits? Does the usage align with your top disability diagnostic categories?
  • Do you have the right benefit plan design? Does your plan design reflect the most common health issues in your organization?