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Self-Rated Job Performance and Absenteeism According to Employee Engagement, Health Behaviors, and Physical Health

Merrill, Ray M. PhD, MPH; Aldana, Steven G. PhD; Pope, James E. MD; Anderson, David R. PhD, LP; Coberley, Carter R. PhD; Grossmeier, Jessica J. PhD; Whitmer, R. William MBAHERO Research Study Subcommittee

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 1 - p 10–18
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31827b73af
Original Articles

Objective: To better understand the combined influence of employee engagement, health behavior, and physical health on job performance and absenteeism.

Methods: Analyses were based on 20,114 employees who completed the Healthways Well-Being Assessment from 2008 to 2010. Employees represented three geographically dispersed companies in the United States.

Results: Employee engagement, health behavior, and physical health indices were simultaneously significantly associated with job performance and also with absenteeism. Employee engagement had a greater association with job performance than did the health behavior or physical health indices, whereas the physical health index was more strongly associated with absenteeism. Specific elements of the indices were evaluated for association with self-rated job performance and absenteeism.

Conclusion: Efforts to improve worker productivity should take a holistic approach encompassing employee health improvement and engagement strategies.

From the Department of Health Science (Dr Merrill), College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; Lifestyle Research Group (Dr Aldana), Mapleton, UT; Center for Health Research (Drs Pope and Coberley), Healthways, Inc, World Headquarters, Franklin, TN; Health Enhancement Research Organization Research Committee (Drs Anderson and Grossmeier), St Paul, MN; and Health Enhancement Research Organization (Mr Whitmer), Edina, MN; HERO Research Study Subcommittee project team: Melondie Carter, DSN, RN; Greg Howe; Steve Merryman.

Address correspondence to: Ray M. Merrill, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Science, College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University, 229-A Richards Bldg, Provo, UT (

This study is funded by the Center for Health Research, Healthways, Inc.

Authors Merrill, Aldana, Pope, Anderson, Coberly, Grossmeier, and Whitmer have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine