How Do You Measure and Track Wellness Program Effectiveness?

Is My Wellness Program Effective?

As stated by Harvard Business Review, the effectiveness a wellness program is varies widely based on how the organization defines and ultimately measures “well-being.” Results also vary depending on what each organizations’ goals are what behaviors they are looking to change. As stated by SHRM, wellness programs can see a Return on Investment of $1.50 all the way to $6.00 per dollar invested in the wellness program. SHRM states that when measuring ROI, common factors include disease management and intervention, lifestyle changes,  and smoking cessation, and how improvements in those areas lower healthcare costs. However, it is also important to think about VOI, or Value of Investment, for areas such as increased productivity, engagement and creativity.

Understanding ROI and VOI

Understanding the difference between ROI and VOI is essential to understanding how you want the effectiveness of your wellness program measured, so let’s dig a little deeper.

ROI refers to a measurable outcome that directly relates with the original investment. In terms of wellness programs, this usually means that by investing in your employees health through wellness programs, you see savings in healthcare costs. VOI is often referred to as a “softer” measurement. This is where the invaluable benefits of employee health, such as employee morale, positivity, decreased use of sick days, increased productivity, and talent retention, come in.

Typically, wellness programs are focused on measuring ROI and assessing the impact of programs on lowering specific health risks, such as smoking, stress, and obesity. Then, they look back to see if a reduce in those specific risks have lowered healthcare costs. If there is not an obvious benefit in these terms, it can get frustrating. What is important to note, though, is how the impact of each of these risks goes far beyond one metric. For example, when an employee reaches their weight loss goal, they have not only lost weight. They may also report that they sleep better, have more energy, feel more positive about life, and maybe they have even gotten off blood pressure medication. Therefore, it is important to look at more than just the ROI when defining well-being and when seeking an accurate reflection of value.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Wellness Program

Listed below is a 4 step guide for measuring the effectiveness of your wellness program:

  1. The very first step before you begin measuring the success of your wellness program is to set a goal. Ask yourself what your top priority is when it comes to the health and well-being of your workforce. While there are often many, try to focus on just one priority for now. It could be reducing healthcare costs, reducing health risks, improving productivity, higher retention rates, etc.
  2. Once you’ve chosen your top priority, it’s important to work out a simple evaluation plan that your employees, management, wellness staff, and HR can get behind. For that to happen, your plan needs to be focused, actionable, and aligned with your organization’s goals. Start by selecting which metrics you want to measure that are directly related to your goal and get the whole team involved.
  3. The next step is to collect data. Depending on which metrics you’ve chosen, you can collect data through pulse surveys, focus groups, one-on-one conversations, wearable technology reports, etc. Keep in mind that some data will be numeric and easily charted, such as number of sick days taken, while others are not, such as job satisfaction.
  4. The final step is to analyze your data. Are you seeing the results you want? Are employees overall happier, more productive or have lower health risks than we you began? Frequently collecting and analyzing data can help you see where changes need to be made to improve the success of your wellness program.

At Health Designs, we can assist you through this process with our robust reporting and data analytics. We strive to empower your organization to develop meaningful approaches to address the needs of your employees. We want to understand what is important to your organization so we can tailor our programming to fit those specific needs. If you would like more information please call 904-285-2019 or use our contact form to set up a consult at your convenience.

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“Health Designs has exceeded our expectations, particularly in the personal coaching portion of our wellness program. Employees have met with the same coach since the first day and have formed an important, trusting relationship to help employees determine their goals and achieve results.”
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