Saving money with wellness programmes

Workplace wellness programs are beneficial to both employers and employees, but how much are wellness programs really adding to the bottom line? Many skeptics continue to argue that saving money on wellness programs is as plausible as finding that flying pig. But ROI is a narrow metric that doesn’t always portray the full story of a wellness program’s success, not to mention the ROI debate has focused mainly on one type of wellness program, lifestyle management (think diet and exercise).

Since ROI only tells half the story, how do we know what’s working for our workplace wellness programs?  64% of corporate wellness administrators were using VOI to measure their program. While VOI has faced some scrutiny of its own, it measures the intangible benefits of wellness, such as employee morale, engagement, and productivity, in addition to hard ROI. More companies realize that increasing these intangibles can improve their culture and in turn increase their bottom line.

Types of Wellness Programs

Disease Management Programs

In a recent Rand study, Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money?, a decade worth of data showed that disease management programs delivered 86% of the hard healthcare cost savings, along with a 30% reduction in hospital admissions. This type of program focuses on existing diseases (heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, arthritis, etc), easing the path of the disease to improve the quality of daily living through medication and prescription adherence, proper self-care, and education.

Lifestyle Management Programs (Physical Wellness)

Lifestyle management programs are the physical aspects of wellness, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking. Lifestyle management doesn’t see quite the return as disease management, but with chronic disease at an all time high, preventing disease is crucial. Reducing stress, biometric screenings, and health education can help your employees fight disease before it starts.  As populations get healthier, we could see a rise in the ROI from lifestyle management programs as chronic conditions decrease. Lifestyle management programs are still worth investing in, especially for the VOI for both employer and employee. Healthier employees have less absenteeism and typically a higher morale. Higher morale and camaraderie in your workforce is better for the bottom line.

Engaging Your Employees in Wellness

No matter which path your wellness program takes, employee engagement is key. Employers must realize that they cannot just make their employees live healthier lifestyles. Here are a few ways to engage your employees in any wellness program.

  • Keep things simple – Easy, simple to follow programs are one of the best ways to keep employees engaged and interested.

  • Keep track of progress – Keep track of the progress your employees are making. Update them often so they can feel proud of their progress.

  • Socialise wellness – Share goals and achievements with co-workers to build teamwork and friendly challenges.

  • Incentives – Incentivising employees for achievements can be a helpful tool when the right incentives are used. Rework your incentive choices as needed to achieve long-term results.

April 27, 2016/in Health & Wellness /by Jennifer DiPietro