First and foremost I should stress that there is no organization that implemented a robust workplace wellness and measured outcome that did not report a positive Return on Investment ( ROI)!
The key word here is ‘ measurement’. Many organizations implement wellness for their employees but often they either do not include a measurement component at all or they include some form of partial measurement. More on this at the next blog.
Much of the research on ROI in workplace wellness has been reported by organizations in North America, primarily the U.S. and to a lesser extent in Canada. In general, ROI has been reported in terms of reductions in absenteeism ( $3.50/dollar invested), health care costs ($4.50 /dollar invested), sick leave( 28%) and disability claims ( 30%). Overall ROI reported by major organizations vary from $5.95 (Bank of America), $4.60 ( Citibank), $3.50 ( General Mills), $3.10 ( PacBell), $2.74 ( BC Hydro) and $ $2.05 ( DuPont). Based on a review of 13 different studies, the ROI varied between $3.45 and $5.81 /dollar invested.
Research indicates that an ROI between $3.00 and $15.00 per $1 dollar invested is achievable within the first 12 to 18 months with quality workplace wellness . When it comes to specific wellness interventions, the following average ROI has been reported per $1 dollar invested:
– Health Risk Assessments–$6.04
– Fitness Programs————$4.90
-Obesity Management——-$ 1.17
As demonstrated above, there are different ROI values reported by different organizations. The variability in these findings is largely due to a number of factors such as the components of workplace wellness , the length of the different interventions and the types of outcomes measured. The main point of note, however, is that a positive ROI is expected following implementation of a quality wellness program. In fact , such a wellness program is cost-neutral if one takes into consideration the cost savings.
A quote reported by the World Economic Forum in a report titled Working Towards Wellness: The Business Rationale , sums it best: “We have to move from illness to wellness. There is no choice. It’s not philanthropy. It’s enlightened self-interest”( Shrinivas M Shanhbag, Medical Advisor, Reliance Industries, India).