The old adage really is true: your employees are your most valuable asset.

In the age of quiet quitting and high turnover, building a company culture that values quality of life has never been more important. Your people aren't just a representation of your organization, they are your organization – if they’re in pain or unhappy, your business will feel it.

When somebody is hurting, their priorities and values in work and life shift to reflect those new challenges. That’s especially true for industries that require physically demanding work, because frequent lifting and bending take a toll on a person’s body.

Considering the importance of keeping your people happy and healthy, two big questions are:

  1. How can you protect your people while keeping them productive?
  2. How do you create a culture that values an honest day’s work while appreciating that your people also want to enjoy life away from the job?

Back Problems Are Really Big Problems

Repetitive lifting, bending, and awkward postures causes physical strain. There’s no doubt about that.

But physical strain can develop into injuries and debilitating chronic conditions like musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – which have a dramatic impact on both individual workers and their companies.

Here are a few alarming statistics about MSDs, from ErgoPlus:

- They result in $20 billion per year in direct costs – indirect costs are estimated as high as $54 billion.

- According to OSHA, your company needs nearly $9 million in sales to make up for $250,000 in MSD-related costs.

- They are the cause of 33% of workers’ compensation claims.

- Back-related issues make up nearly 50% of all MSDs.

There are many other statistics out there that all tell the same story: a back problem is a really big problem. And if your workers feel overwhelmed with discomfort, fatigue, and pain, they are more likely to either mentally disengage from their work or leave the organization for the sake of their own well-being.

So What Can You Do? Take Action

Like the saying goes: actions speak louder than words.

Strengthening the performance and morale of your workers (and improving your company’s culture) begins with protecting their bodies and improving their quality of life – which will likely build a sense of pride in their organization.

This investment in your people is much more attainable now, thanks to modern work-related technology like the new class of workforce wearables. This product category includes things like AR goggles and movement sensors, but also includes a new generation of comfortable ‘soft-shell’ exosuits designed to improve the well-being of workers by physically assisting them during those back-breaking movements throughout a shift.

“When you show you care about people, that’s what retains people,” one warehouse worker who piloted a back-assist exosuit said. “Everybody in here, we’re all sore. We’re all hurting. It doesn’t matter what your health is, what your size is – any of those things. We’re all tired. We’re all hurting. But for the first time in a long time, I won’t be hurting walking out of this building [because of the exosuit.]”

Exos show your workers that your organization values them as a person – not just a nameless employee paid to perform a task. Taking action by implementing these life-changing wearables transforms your company culture into something tangible that speaks louder than empty words.

Your organization depends on the health and happiness of your workforce. When your workers are hurting, your company also feels the pain. Ultimately, if you have your team’s back, they are more likely to have yours.

Mark Harris is the CEO and co-founder of HeroWear. A driven entrepreneur with an innovator’s mindset, he previously founded Concert Genetics. At HeroWear, Mark leads a team of experienced engineers, implementation staff, and manufacturing experts bound to a single vision: evolving how work is done and improving the lives of workers worldwide.