The return on investment (ROI) related to employee corporate wellness programs typically includes the overall health care cost-savings achieved, as well as productivity increases due to a reduction in sick days taken by employees. Calculating the ROI based on the hard savings numbers provides most companies with the justification for implementing such programs.
According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management more than two-thirds of respondents from organizations that offered wellness initiatives indicated these efforts were either “somewhat effective” or “very effective” in reducing the costs of health care.
An article in the Harvard Business Review demonstrated how ROI can be attained through employee wellness programs. The study included a random sample of 185 workers and their spouses. The participants received exercise training from a team of experts. The medical claim costs declined by $1,421 per participant, compared with those from the previous year. A control group showed no such improvements.
A nonprofit research institute, examined 10-year data from a Fortune 100 employer. This study conducted by the Rand Wellness Programs Study examined two aspects of the employer’s wellness program: (1) the lifestyle management component, and (2) the disease management component.
Interestingly, disease management was responsible for 86% of the health care cost-savings, generating $136 in savings per member, per month, and a 30% reduction in hospital admissions.
When employees aren’t feeling well, either physically or emotionally, their productivity declines. Consider the difference between an employee who rolls out of bed and drags in to work versus an employee who exercises before coming to work. Exercise produces natural opiates or endorphins, which increase energy, enhance mood and promote overall wellness. The result? The employee who is exercising, and typically healthier as a result, will likely show up to work with more energy and enhanced positivity.
This could cascade into numerous company benefits. If the employee interacts with customers, it could translate into a significantly higher customer experience and an increase in sales. When the employee interacts with co-workers, it could mean the generation of new ideas or solutions to business challenges, a more positive working environment, and more value produced by each employee—all of which positively affect the company’s bottom line.