Shifting from ROI to VOI When Measuring Your Wellness Program’s Success

The Pressure of ROI

William Peck, a certified Worksite Wellness Program Consultant and a member of the Maine Council for Worksite Wellness, recently came across this comment, “I’m curious why wellness is expected to produce a specific ROI when safety is not?” He responded with, “… safety is mandated, while wellness is completely voluntary. If something is mandated by the government, you don’t have to satisfy yourself that the investment is worthwhile, you just have to be in compliance with the government mandate.” We feel Peck’s response is a great explanation of why there is so much pressure to prove the Return on Investment (ROI) of wellness programs. When you voluntarily incorporate a program, proof that the program is working is needed to continue. And when it comes to wellness programs, the traditional measurement of success is the amount you invested in your employees health compared to the amount you saved in health care costs.

While there are numerous studies confirming that wellness programs have a positive ROI, it is not the most effective way to measure the success of a wellness program. This is because not all the dimensions of wellbeing are easily measured in financial terms. Instead, employee health and wellness are better measured in terms of Value of Investment (VOI).

Why Shift to VOI?

VOI is often referred to as a “softer” measurement. This is how the invaluable benefits of employee health and wellness, such as engagement, employee morale, positivity, decreased use of sick days, increased productivity, improved sense of purpose, and talent retention, are measured. Since these benefits are harder to measure and usually do not produce financial measurements, you might be wondering how you prove the VOI of wellness programs.

In the simplest of terms, VOI means taking a broader look at the impact the wellness program has on your employees and your organization as a whole. So, instead of only tracking health care costs, you also track employee engagement, turnover, absenteeism, productivity, etc. You will notice that with happier and healthier employees you see higher engagement and productivity and lower rates of absenteeism and turnover!

How to Get Started

According to this Virgin Pulse report, you must first ensure that your wellness program is set up for success. This means ensuring that company leaders are committed to fully supporting and participating in the wellness program and that you have a workplace culture that promotes all the components of health, including physical, emotional, social, financial, and purposeful. From there, figure out what the most important metrics are for senior management. They may include simply improving program awareness and improving participation rates, or improving worker morale and engagement, behavior changes, risk reduction, etc. Once the important metrics have been selected, talk to your employees and conduct a survey to create a benchmark for where your organization stands in those areas. When you combine senior leadership support and a culture of health with your wellness program, you will begin to see improvement in the health and wellness of your employees, which will then lead to improvements in your selected metrics.

For more information on wellness programs and measuring results, visit our website!

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