measuring the effectiveness of wellness programs

What Strategies Do Your Corporate Wellness Portals Need?

It is interesting to see the number of HR Directors focused on Wellness increase every year. A single national job search website shows 1,696 wellness positions available across the US. Yes, Wellness is becoming big business. Wellness not only provides a significant benefit to your employees, but it also significantly contributes to your bottom line. Reduction in employer paid healthcare costs is a well-documented result of Wellness Programs. In addition absenteeism is reduced and the number of sick-days used is also reduced. Some studies show a $3 to $6 return for each dollar invested in Wellness.

A Wellness platform that tracks enrollment, participation and progress will help an employer gather the metrics needed to calculate the return on investment (ROI). We have found that Wellness Portals must offer the following services:

  • Registration for employee (spouse and dependents can enroll, as well – if this is part of the overall Wellness Strategy of the employer)
  • Confidential questionnaires to guide the employee to share their current wellbeing across many dimensions of Wellness – so relevant wellness information can be provided to the employee
  • Tracking mechanisms to assess wellness over time
  • Wellness Challenges to encourage participation in Wellness Activities
  • Incentives to increase the rate of participation
  • Focuses, targeted and relevant information that employees use to improve their health
  • Information delivered in a format selected by the employee (web, e-mail, text, etc.)

Calculate your ROI by measuring actual employee participation across the many dimensions of a mature Wellness Program. Look for high participation, engagement and utilization. When you measure ROI you want to compare the employee population who participates in your corporate Wellness Program against the employee population that does not engage. You would expect to find that your overall health expenditures decrease and the absenteeism and sick day utilization of those who participate to be less than those who do not. Once you can identify the benefit to the employee and the company, you can then focus on improving participation by focusing on developing wellness incentives for employees to increase your participation rate.

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