Issue: Is Your Wellness Program A Return-On-Investment?
With so many companies investing in workplace wellness, it comes as a surprise that research shows that few companies assess the health needs of their employee population before deciding which wellness services to invest in. Even more surprising, is that only about a third of companies evaluate and measure how their programs impact the health and wellness of their employees or their bottom line.
Assess how your workplace wellness program stands up:
- Does your organization have an overall health policy stating your intent to protect and promote the health of all employees?
- Does your organization have a strategic plan to developing and sustaining a healthy workplace and is it based on employee needs?
- Have you trained your leaders in healthy workplace principles and strategies?
- Do your leaders demonstrate through their comments and actions, a commitment to the development of a healthy workplace?
- Do you have a formal assessment process to determine employee needs, attitudes and preferences in regard to healthy workplace programs?
- Are the workplace health assessment results analyzed and are goals set out in a Healthy Workplace Plan?
- Do you have methods in place that make it easy for people to provide ongoing input on healthy workplace and organizational issues?
- Do you measure employee satisfaction levels in order to improve the workplace?
- Do you have a dedicated budget and committee to properly implement your Healthy Workplace Plan?
- Do you evaluate the outcomes and impact of your programs and make adjustments as necessary?
Addressing The Reasons For An Employee Wellness Program Through Evaluation:
From the assessment above, measuring and evaluating are important and essential components of a comprehensive workplace wellness plan. Developing a comprehensive employee wellness program that delivers sound and measurable returns is not as difficult as some may think. A productive employee wellness program assesses the health issues (including the direct and indirect costs of these health issues), wants, and needs of your employees and then addresses these issues, wants and needs in a meaningful and measurable way that the employer can track over time
If you are looking to manage or reduce health care costs, reduce the number of sick days, manage/reduce disability claims then Return-On-Investment measurements make sense. However, if you are looking to reduce employee health risks, improve employee job satisfaction, safety, productivity and morale, or attract and retain talented employees then you may want to evaluate the Value-On-Investment or VOI.
Studies show that many large employers with an effective corporate wellness program may have started a wellness program because they wanted to save healthcare cost dollars or improve employee health, but as the program went on, they realized that their workplace wellness program added considerable value to the organization and ROI was not as important. Workplace wellness can have a significant return on investment. However, if you only look at reducing health care costs, you may miss an even more significant value from your programs. The biggest impact may be on productivity, presenteeism, turnover and recruitment. When employees are healthy and working in a healthy environment, they are engaged, creative and productive. They tell others, who will be attracted to your company. In an aim to be an employer of choice, isn’t this what you want?
Participation is the key to effectiveness.
Simply offering a wellness program, no matter how well-intentioned, provides no guarantee of improving employees' well-being or having any value or return-on-investment. Workers must be aware the program exists and be persuaded to use it. Engaging company managers are key. They are uniquely positioned to ensure that each of their employees knows about the company's wellness program, to encourage team members to take part, and to create accountability for results.
Research by Gallup, found that managers account for at least 70% of team variation on employee engagement. Managers that engaged their workers were 28% more likely to participate in a wellness program offered by their company than were average employees. But before managers can talk to employees one-on-one about their well-being, they must first build trusting relationships with their direct reports so team members feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics and setting health-related goals with them.
Wellness is a commitment. It is a commitment by the individual, their manager and by the company.
The results of one study showed that employers can’t seem to decide if workplace wellness programs were meant to save a company money or to make them more money. 40% of respondents said the goal was to save costs and 38% said that the goal was to better worker productivity.
Regardless of which way you lean, you need to measure and determine your ROI or VOI. Measurement starts with benchmarking. You need to know where you started to determine how far you have come.
Workplace Wellness is not a short term commitment. It can take several years for the investment to be realized, but is well worth doing, because a healthy workplace is clearly a win/win situation for both employee and employer. Click to tweet
How do you feel about ROI?
Is it important to your decision makers?
Are you measuring ROI?
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!