The traditional workplace is shifting. No longer are programs focused solely on physical wellness viewed as an effective solution. Why? They do little to encourage participation, maintain engagement or create sustainable healthy habits for employees - not to mention, they can cost employers billions of dollars each year due to the price tag associated with poor health.
The move to a more holistic approach with a focus on wellbeing considers all aspects of employees’ lives and is becoming more commonplace. Human resource directors and senior executives continue to drive conversations toward this inclusive methodology with 76 percent of employers integrating elements associated with overall health - physical, mental, social, emotional, financial, etc. - according to a recent survey conducted by Virgin Pulse.
With this shift comes a change in how leaders measure the success of these programs. However, it's not without its challenges. Roughly only a quarter of organizations can calculate the return on investment of their wellbeing initiatives, let alone the more holistic measurement of value on investment, or VOI.
Yet, understanding the value of a wellbeing program is essential to building the business case and driving business outcomes as organizations expand upon wellbeing offerings.
To get started proving the value of your wellbeing investment and demonstrating its critical worth, consider these important first steps...
Expand Your View
Moving beyond wellness starts with looking past its narrow focus. Programs that rely on health risk assessments and biometric screenings raise awareness of potential physical health issues, but don’t drive behavioral change. To positively influence employee wellbeing, broaden your scope and turn the page on traditional wellness offerings.
Outline your new program to aid in the development of a sound plan design. Begin by defining the goals of your expanded wellbeing offerings. What are you trying to achieve? How will you define success? Then consider how you will introduce new initiatives and programs that will focus on essential wellbeing areas beyond just physical. Consider how these new offerings will influence key metrics including productivity, turnover, safety and absenteeism.
Remember, It's About Health
The ultimate goal of your wellbeing program is to showcase its positive impact on employee health. By emphasizing ROI measurements to assess the success of a program and limiting the focus to medical claim cost savings, employers overlook this essential objective - and miss out on the most impactful benefits that wellbeing programs bring to the table.
Proving your organization can influence positive change in employee health is powerful. Demonstrating that you value employee wellbeing influences culture, productivity, talent acquisition and retention. In addition, research shows that organizations that invest in health and wellbeing - and do it well - achieve notable economic gains and are more highly valued by the investment community. In all, key business outcomes realized by an emphasis on - and proven ability to positively influence - health and wellbeing.
The challenge here? These outcomes can be difficult to prove and take time to properly measure. Which brings me to the final point:
Dig Into Data
As you continue to recognize and leverage the power of analytics to drive business decisions, take the time to implement, cultivate and refine your program measurements. Then, let the statistics guide you.
Start by defining the metrics most important to your organization when it comes to your wellbeing program. This may include: participation rates, behavior change, risk reduction, lowering absenteeism, increasing productivity, or attracting and retaining talent. Then establish goals, milestones and evaluation periods to ensure effective program management.
It takes time, but the rewards are immense. Imagine a future where your data steers decisions that affect your organization's bottom line. Even better, a world in which your data predicts future outcomes, helping you to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to potential issues involving employee health, retention, safety, productivity and more.
It all starts with recognizing the value of wellbeing and building a case to drive your organization to new heights.
Make the move to wellbeing and start reaping the benefits of a healthier, more productive workforce and profitable organization. Download Virgin Pulse's paper to learn more about the benefits of developing a culture of health at your workplace.
Bryan Mahoney is the Director of Content Marketing at Virgin Pulse. He brings more than a decade’s worth of experience as a content producer and blends his interests in all things wellbeing to help organizations become the best places to work. A former marathon champ, he now balances running with family by constantly chasing after his two-year-old daughter, Gia.