Employers Turn to Another Metric for Wellness Programs

Wellness |
Written by Dell Dorn

When it comes to measuring wellness program success, employers are using measures that calculate value on investment (VOI) as well as return on investment (ROI), according to a new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).

“A Closer Look: Workplace Wellness Outcomes” finds that just over one-quarter of organizations (28%) are measuring wellness program success with traditional ROI. Half are using at least one VOI measure to track success including employee engagement (30%), turnover (22%), absenteeism (18%), productivity (17%) and recruitment/referral rates (13%).

Wellness programs continue to gain traction, with previous research revealing that the vast majority of executives believe well-being programs can prevent workplace burn-out. More than 80% of employees say they participate in workplace well-being programs to reduce their stress levels.

IFEBP’s report compares organizations achieving positive wellness VOI with the average organization offering wellness initiatives. In general, the report finds organizations with positive wellness VOI offer a wider range of wellness offerings than other organizations. Positive VOI offerings include fitness and nutrition initiatives, screening and treatment programs, social and community events, stress and mental health offerings, and purpose and growth initiatives.

Positive VOI wellness programs are also likelier to use a range of wellness communication channels including seminars, speakers, testimonials, books, brochures, health fairs and social media.

Employers that report a strong VOI take a more holistic approach to wellness, according to Julie Stich, research director at the International Foundation. “Beyond traditional wellness initiatives, they are offering options like stress-management programs, staff outings, charity drives and flexible work hours,” Stich says.

Incentives continue to be popular for increasing participation in wellness initiatives, and the report finds they appear to be successful. Participation is especially boosted by offering incentives for health screenings (57% vs. 40%), weight-loss programs (37% vs. 17%) and health fairs (54% vs. 37%). Other factors that successfully increase participation are targeting programs based on employee health risks, surveying workers for feedback on initiatives, including spouses and children in offerings and having company leaders communicate wellness program support.

As well as boosting participation, three factors—a greater level of wellness communication, a willingness to seek worker input and an effort to include families—are shared themes across organizations with positive ROI, VOI and great workplace cultures.

“Wellness programs are not one size fits all,” Stich says. “Before launching or expanding a wellness initiative, employers should determine what their goals are and what programs are a good fit for their unique workplace culture.”

“A Closer Look: Workplace Wellness Outcomes” breaks down the various types of wellness program designs offered and outcomes experienced by organizations to reveal ideas for success. The report uses data from 372 U.S. organizations of a variety of sizes, industries and regions across the U.S. that participated in the 2015 Workplace Wellness Trends Survey.


This article was written by Jill Cornfield and was originally published by PLANSPONSOR. You can see the original article here.

Enjoy this article? Don't forget to share.
About the Author

Dell Dorn

Dell Dorn is the founder of DORN Companies. He started DORN in 1998 to help employers save money on workers' compensation claims and reduce OSHA recordables. Today, DORN customers realize the immense cost of employee pain and the enormous impact our service has on employee morale and their bottom line.
Say Goodbye to employees' pain, high healthcare and workers' compensation claims and costs. Learn more


  Comments: 2

  1. Is the survey and research available without a membership? If not, I don’t think it should be cited. If you are making it available for the public to read, how do I get to it? Not just the infographic, but the report. Thanks

    • Hi Edward. Unfortunately, the survey and research are only available with a paid membership. This specific blog is actually a repost, and was originally published by PLANSPONSOR. Sorry for any confusion.

Your feedback