Managers Less Concerned About Return on Investment From Their Wellness Programs and More Concerned About the Overall Health and Wellness of Their Employees, Study Finds

 

Gaining senior management for their wellness program and return on investment are among the two top searches we have found over the years. And, proving ROI hits the tops of the list of wellness managers concerns.

ROI, how senior management measures any and all activities in an organization, has always been a major concern of wellness professionals, we have found during our surveys.

And, on top of that there are a few individuals – not directly working in the workplace wellness management field per se – who have been throwing cold water on certain reports surrounding ROI.

But the good news for wellness professionals come from the results of a recent study that found that managers are less concerned about return on investment from their wellness programs and more concerned about the overall health and well-being of their employees.

Indeed, employers are looking beyond ROI when they implement workplace wellness programs found the results of a study by Humana and the economics Economist Intelligence Unit.

For instance, nearly 70 percent of executives “consider their organization’s wellness program to be cost effective, even though not all of the outcomes are measurable,” according to the study report “Measuring Wellness: From Data to Insights.”

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Humana said the study explored “why companies implement workplace wellness, how data influences these programs and identifies obstacles that inhibit program participation.”

The study was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and surveyed 225 U.S.-based executives and 630 full-time employees from organizations with workplace wellness programs..

“It’s interesting to validate that employers now view ROI as an important, but not exclusive or even primary measure of a wellness program’s success,” said Beth Bierbower, president of Humana’s Employer Group Segment.

“Employers are now seeing that employee health is important beyond health care costs, it has profound impacts on productivity, retention, workplace engagement and morale,” she added.

However most wellness professionals know that despite employers’ positive sentiments about workplace wellness programs, many companies struggle with how to successfully execute them and measure their value. The study found that two-thirds of executives feel data collection and interpretation is the biggest challenge confronting effective workplace wellness, said Humana.

“Executives feel this challenge is further hampered by reluctance from employees to share personal information or authorize data collection from third parties,” the report said.

“Our results show that under the right circumstances, employees are in fact willing to share their personal health data, which is a critical insight for employers looking to optimize their wellness program,” noted Bierbower. “With the right tools and framework, wellness programs can provide a valuable opportunity for both employers and employees to measure wellness and track health progress.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • While 86 percent of executives say improving employee health as an indirect driver of productivity, morale and engagement is their top reason for implementing a wellness program, cost factors are still important, including reducing employee health care costs (66 percent) and controlling medical claims (48 percent).
  • About 30 percent of employees rate subsidized gym memberships, onsite health and wellness facilities, and budgeted wellness activity time during business hours, as the three most important services that would motivate participation.
  • 64 percent of employees have used fitness devices to monitor health and capture data, but only 19 percent use them regularly.  

Study details are available at http://whenwellnessworks.humana.com/

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