Human Resources News & Insights

5 ways to measure wellness effectiveness

You’ve heard it before: For every $1 you spend on wellness, you’ll save $3 to $4 in healthcare costs. Sounds great. But how do you know for sure your wellness program’s working?

Here are five indicators that’ll tell you how effective your wellness program is:

  1. Sick days. While you can’t look at employees’ medical records, you can check if the amount of sick days they’re taking is going up or down. You can do this at both the individual and company level. But it may be best to just look at those who’re participating in your wellness program. If sick days aren’t decreasing among that group, it may be time to think up a new approach to wellness. If sick days are decreasing, you’ll want to look for new ways to attract more participants. Also, keep in mind that the smaller your company is, the more volatile the numbers will be (example: if you’ve only got 15 employees and one misses a month due to surgery, total sick days wouldn’t be a good measuring stick).
  2. Stress. Health problems are a big cause of stress, as are financial struggles. If your plan incorporates physical as well as financial wellness initiatives, employees’ stress levels should decrease. Anonymous employee surveys can help you get a feel for how stressed your workforce is. And something as small as credit counseling services or investment education can help employees achieve financial wellness.
  3. Presenteeism. Track worker performance. Healthier employees will not only be absent less, they’ll also be more productive when they’re at work. Are more people hitting their quotas?
  4. Healthcare utilization. Your health insurance provider should be able to tell you how many employees visited the hospital, saw a doctor, had surgery or required medication. Excluding preventive care visits (you want employees to have them), are these figures decreasing? They should be. You won’t be able to get specifics on individual employees, but you should be able to get company-wide trends, which is all you need.
  5. Employee satisfaction. Are employees happy with what your wellness program has to offer? More people should be signing up than dropping out. Is there something else they want from the program?
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