How can organizations measure the effectiveness of wellness programs?
The spectrum of wellness has shifted and become more universally acceptable since the pandemic. Companies are now looking at wellness in a new light, where the hard push back on offering exclusive employee wellness and healthcare support is no longer just an added benefit but a decision strategic business.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, Johnson & Johnson saved more than $250 million in healthcare costs in a decade instead of improving employee wellness programs, bringing in $2.71 for every dollar spent.
An employer’s range of healthcare services and offerings strongly reflects a company’s brand, however, the benefits of effective wellness programs are manifold. The pandemic has had a deeper impact on the overall acceptance of these initiatives, even by small organizations. It is possible to consider well-being in an organizational context as an effective tool for improving productivity, performance and confidence.
Can well-being be measured?
Globally, wellness has been seen as a service delivered by vendors with expertise in delivering solutions tailored to a business’s needs. Undoubtedly, the options to choose from are many, from a holistic view of well-being, including physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, social and even professional. Definitions are expanded with new research every day, and one solution doesn’t work for everyone.
Organizations often view wellness programs as an added incentive and rely on third-party media to meet their needs. The absence of goal-oriented objective setting for such programs allows for poor ownership of the action plan. Without specific goals, it’s almost impossible to compare improvements or measure returns on investment.
Also Read: 6 Money Lessons for Living a Healthy Financial Life
The choice of metrics is key to measuring the success of a wellness program. Initially, companies must deliberate that a well-defined program with a vision of long-term results will increase health costs for the organization in the short term. But if implemented thoroughly and strategically, the same programs can save millions in the longer term. Wellbeing can no longer be viewed as a soft HR metric, but as a key measure of a company’s employee engagement, performance, and retention tactics.
Signs of success
Long-term goals may aim to reduce overall health care costs per employee in order to move the indicator from an emergency room to a visit to a GP for common conditions that can be treated, for example, with better physical condition. While employers recognize the need for varied choices for the well-being of their employees, there are a few areas that can be good indicators of whether programs are having a positive outcome.
- Low absenteeism – Programs that improve the overall quality of access to health care and an active lifestyle will result in chronic downsizing in the workplace.
- High productivity – Employees in better overall health will deliver high-quality results more often and be better positioned to achieve goals without burning out. Organizations should be sure to look at various metrics to measure changes in productivity after implementing wellness programs.
- Better employee retention – Carefully crafted program packages and greater inclusion in wellness offerings will eventually lead to a deep sense of belonging and being cared for as part of an organization among employees.
- Low personal loans/payday advances for medical reasons – According to reports, 28% of all personal loans in India are taken for emergency medical purposes. A reduction in payday loans or payday advances for health care is an important indicator of successful implementation.
- Preventive care – By providing preventative care to employees and their families, organizations can ensure a smooth healthcare journey for their staff. Early detection often significantly reduces costs compared to advanced treatment of the disease. Data-driven intervention in such initiatives will mean the real benefits delivered to employees.
The nature of the business determines the type of wellness programs that employees can benefit from. For example, a manufacturer will achieve better results through balance improvement and efficiency programs, helping employees detect signs of physical harm from harsh working conditions early and treat them accordingly. . The kind of relationships great organizations can forge with their people through wellness are known to be built on value and trust. The world may be changing with small businesses and freelancers, but a comprehensive healthcare program remains a major asset for many industries and will continue to have a major impact on the workforce. After all, big business helps change lives and it always starts at home.
(By Yogesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Onsurity)