Taking on the Perennial ‘Proving the ROI of My Program’ Issue

Quantifying the return on investment (ROI) of their wellness program remains a serious concern for workplace wellness managers, according to our ongoing Wellness Management Leadership Surveys.

But senior management is looking at wellness and health promotion professionals to come up with measures that reinforce their wellness program is worth it, is an good investment and is helping to save the company money.

Wellness managers over the years have told us that they continue to be challenged by the need to document the value of their programs to top management and prove their employer is “getting the bang for the buck,” from what health promotion programs promise.

In today’s business environment, every department in an organization must continue to justify its existence. But it seems that wellness managers have hurdles to overcome in successfully gaining understanding and support by top management, if concerns expressed by managers in our leadership surveys are an indication.

Besides attempting to measure their own program’s ROI, wellness professional are always on the lookout for information on new studies on the ROI of wellness programs.

Compelling data in favor of wellness programs came courtesy of Health Affairs, in which a study was published regarding cost savings from workplace wellness programs vis-a-vis medical cost and absenteeism reduction ROIs.

In an analysis from the Healthcare Breakfast Club, a blog from Harvard Business School students Robin Tang, Umair Khan, and Ambar Bhattacharyya, literature shows that the medical cost ROI is $3.27:$1.00, and the ROI on absenteeism reduction is $2.73:$1.00.

Employees who participate in workplace health promotion programs miss fewer workdays than those who choose not to participate, with the decrease in absenteeism translating into a cost savings of nearly $16 for each dollar spent on the program, another study by Brigham Young University (BYU) researchers found.

The percentage of companies successfully measuring ROI for health and wellness programs has “sharply increased” over the years, from 14 percent in 2007 to 73 percent in 2009, the most recent year available.

Some 83 percent of those who have measured say the programs return better than 1:1 on their investment, according to Health2 Resources

In growing numbers, employers are rewarding goal achievement during and after health and wellness program completion, the company said.

“Employers are becoming more sophisticated about measuring the return-on-investment from wellness and disease management programs, and today’s economic outlook dictates that these programs bring a positive ROI,” said Sean Sullivan, president and CEO of the Institute for Health and Productivity Management.

“No other kind of health management program has been given the same scrutiny as health and productivity management in measuring its effectiveness in reducing total health-related costs, including sick days, disability claims and impaired performance at work,” he said.

Source: Wellness Program Management Advisor, Wellness Management Information Center Resources:

“Wellness Program Return-on-Investment: Benchmarks, Strategies, and Case Studies for Proving the Value of Your Wellness Initiatives”
http://www.healthresourcesonline.com/edu/wellnessroi.htm

“Secrets to Wellness and Health Promotion ROI: How Successful
Managers Attract and Motivate Increased Participation in Their Programs,”
http://www.healthresourcesonline.com/wellness/roi.htm
Copyright 2011, Wellness Management Information Center

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