Upper management is rarely willing to sink money into wellness ideas that are based on conclusions drawn from a single survey or two, and for good reason. But it’s hard to ignore this data that shows a whopping return on investment (ROI) for wellness initiatives.
The American Journal of Health Promotion performed an analysis of 56 published studies on work site health promotion programs to determine the true ROI and impact of wellness programs.
More accurate wellness ROI measures
According to the American Journal of Health Promotion’s in-depth analysis, employers with work site health promotion programs see on average:
- a 27% reduction in sick leave absenteeism
- 26% reduction in health costs, and
- 32% decrease in workers’ compensation and disability claims.
But the most important finding has to do with all-around wellness ROI. For every dollar invested in wellness, employers saw an average savings of $5.81 due to improved employee health and reduced medical claims. That’s significantly higher than the wellness ROI figures of $3 to $4 for every dollar invested that are more commonly reported.
What it means
One of the biggest obstacles preventing top-level executives from investing heavily in wellness initiatives is a lack of good info on the effectiveness of these initiatives to improve the bottom line.
In fact, an overwhelming 89% of small and mid-sized employers recently told the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) they’d increase their investment into employee wellness initiatives if they could better quantify their impact.
Passing along more detailed data — like the findings from the American Journal of Health Promotion analysis — should help convince execs the more heavily the company invests in wellness, the better it will be for their organization long term.
Source: Based on “Benefits Strategies: Using Data to Build and Drive Your Plan,” a presentation by Mark Schmit, VP, Research, SHRM, at the 2012 SHRM Conference in Atlanta.