C-suite execs and HR teams want to know, “What will the financial return-on-investment be of my wellness program?” Some studies claim a 4 to 1 ROI for wellness programs, and some go so far as to say that there is little to no financial return. The only thing these studies confirm is that ROI for wellness is hard to measure. Here are a few things to consider when you start to think about ROI:
- Health care costs
- Obvious, right? If available to you, it may be important to examine your claims to find opportunities for improvement. For example, a significant decrease in emergency room visits may be a result of increased education about preventive care or use of urgent care facilities.
- Employee engagement
- You may wonder how you could possibly track employee engagement, and it is a challenging thing to compress into a pretty little line graph. Wellness committees and HR teams for the most part, know their employees and their culture. One suggestion is to track participation in events and survey employees for feedback. Don’t more engaged, productive employees contribute to the bottom line of your company?
- How has your wellness program transformed your culture? Is your staff seemingly happier, more productive, and active? How much of this can you attribute to your wellness program? Including your staff in designing the wellness program is one way to ensure it matches your culture today and the direction it will take in the future. Is your work environment essential to your growth plans and the way you service your clients?
- Improved Employee Health
- Can you quantify the financial benefit of having your employees healthy? You could consider tracking absenteeism.
- Take a look at the factors that contribute to the retention of your staff including: compensation and benefits, wellness programs, extra perks, work-life balance, professional development opportunities, culture, and more. Your investment in your staff is returned when they are top performers that stick around for the long haul.
Measuring ROI for wellness cannot be fully gauged after one year of the program. Outcomes may not immediately deliver a hard financial return, but that doesn’t mean that the return isn’t coming, or isn’t already happening in another way. Most people have never seen a wellness program properly implemented and continually supported over time, and their expectations can be unrealistic.
We suggest determining goals and objectives for your wellness program early on. Using these goals as a guide, select the way in which you will measure or gauge your successes and shortcomings, and utilize this strategy in your analysis. When it comes to the ROI discussion, we must remember the various reasons why wellness was an important initiative to begin with, and it most likely did not begin and end with the almighty dollar.