What’s the ROI on Employee Wellness Programs?

What’s the ROI on Employee Wellness Programs?

I started my career at the East Bank Club in Chicago.  It was the most professional fitness environment I have ever encountered.  Because of the type of members they attracted, I was privileged to train a wide range of executives and business owners.  I always admired how they prioritized their workouts despite their busy schedules.

Time invested in your health and wellness will make you a more productive person.  Even the late Dr. Stephen Covey (who passed away last year), acknowledged this in his famous book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”   It placed importance on not only being productive, but activities that improve production capacity.  These are efforts we make that increase our ability to produce more and better.  Exercise, eating well and healthy living is a variable that significantly increases your ability to be more productive and therefore a better contributor to your job, home and community.

It is because of Covey and even my experience at the EBC, that I have borrowed the saying, “ The greatest wealth is health,” from the Roman poet Virgil, as the tagline to my company, POW! Health and Wellness.  My belief that any investment in your health translates into true wealth, can be measured today.  You will get a return on this type of investment.

Wellness programs were once viewed as just great company perks.  But the truth is that they impact health care costs, company morale, leadership and even day-to-day productivity.   According to a study done by Towers Watson and the National Business Group, there is less voluntary employee attrition with highly effective wellness programs.  The Biltmore tourism enterprise reduced their rate from 19% to 9% in 4 years with their wellness program.  This successful decrease in attrition is a huge success when you consider that they also revealed in another study done of executives, that employee health, satisfaction and productivity was a top concern.

Other companies that have seen significant a ROI for wellness spending is DuPont.  They found that for every $1.00 they invested in workplace health promotions, they yielded $1.42 (over two years) because their absenteeism was reduced by 14%.  This was a fabulous return for the money because their efforts focused mostly on exercise regiments, Biggest Loser Challenges, injury screenings and program design.  This is a significant finding because it was not centered on large biometric studies, but rather programming that effected lifestyle choices.  Furthermore, these types of health promotions bred positive workplace sentiments, which also improve company morale.

Some employers today may feel as though they have the upper hand, because most of us are simply just thrilled to have a stable job and benefits.  But those with a progressive mindset are beginning to understand that poor employee retention and health impacts their bottom-line.  The cost to hire, train and acclimate a new employee into any size company is costly.  Therefore, any business that wants to grow its wealth, must invest into their employee’s health!

Companies that promote health and invest in the well-being of their employees will be rewarded with:

  • 3.5 X more creativity and innovation
  • 3 X more productivity
  • 4 X less likely to lose talent

I could go on and on about the number of studies that prove the need for wellness programs, health initiatives and wellness driven team building integration. But I will stop with a key finding from a University of Michigan study that revealed that $370 billion was lost in American companies due to lost productivity that came mostly from disengaged employees.

If you grew up in a large family you have probably heard that it takes a village to raise a child.  This point of view should be applied to corporate America.  It takes a village to breed healthy, engaged, productive and loyal employees.  The corporate village should be comprised of the employee, their family, the employers, the health benefits and the support system that gives them the permissions and structures to continue to mature within a wellness-minded environment.

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