What’s the Return on Employee Wellness Programs?
First, what Is Workplace Wellness?
Extensive research on workplace wellness has led to arrive at this definition: an organized, employer-sponsored program that is designed to support employees (and, sometimes, their families) as they adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organization’s bottom line.
Employee wellness programs have often been viewed as a nice extra, not a strategic imperative. But the data show otherwise. The ROI on comprehensive, well-run employee wellness programs can be as high as 6 to 1.
The most successful programs have six essential pillars:
- engaged leadership at multiple levels
- strategic alignment with the company’s identity and aspirations
- a design that is broad in scope and high in relevance and quality
- broad accessibility; internal and external partnerships
- effective communications
Companies in a variety of industries have included all six pillars in their employee wellness programs and have reaped big rewards in the form of lower health care costs, greater productivity, and higher morale.
Since 1995, the percentage of Johnson & Johnson employees who smoke has dropped by more than two-thirds. The number who have high blood pressure or who are physically inactive also has declined—by more than half. That’s great, obviously, but should it matter to managers? Well, it turns out that a comprehensive, strategically designed investment in employees’ social, mental, and physical health pays off. J&J’s leaders estimate that wellness programs have cumulatively saved the company $250 million on health care costs over the past decade; from 2002 to 2008, the return was $2.71 for every dollar spent.
Interested in creating the same result for your business?