In the corporate world, Return on Investment (ROI) has been routinely thrown around as the end-all, be-all of how to gauge the success of any initiative. Companies and vendors have applied this measure to workplace wellness programs for years, decades actually. For every $1 that the company spends on a program, the company wants to/should/will realize a $X savings in healthcare costs. The problem is this number is usually manipulated to serve whoever is providing it and doesn’t necessarily provide a glimpse into what maybe a better report card on how workplace wellness is impacting its participants.
Instead of focusing on ROI, consider an alternative: Value of Investment (VOI). What’s the difference? Whereas ROI looks at dollars saved or earned as a result of some activity, VOI is interested in intangibles such as how people feel and how those feelings affects employees’ attitudes toward work and life in general. These intangibles can contribute greatly to the health of an organization.
How can you get a better sense of VOI at your workplace? Consider tracking:
- How many employees participated in wellness events and programs — After all, people wouldn’t attend or participate if they weren’t interested. If 75% of your employees attended a workshop on time management, you’d know that your efforts in that area had value and would likely affect your organization in a positive way.
- How did employees answer survey questions about workplace wellness and their wellbeing as a result of what you offered — Simply asking individuals how your programs have impacted them will provide you with great insight into the value they place on what you provide.
The first measure (event and program participation levels) is fairly self-explanatory. Just be sure you designate someone to track attendance/participation numbers. If you have a workplace wellness team with members having designated roles, the events coordinator can either take on this responsibility or assign the task to others who will attend the events.
The second measure (using survey responses) can be an efficient way to gather enlightening information. Using a survey allows you to:
- Ask all participants the same questions in the same way.
- Easily tally responses.
- Go to management with numbers to justify recommendations on what programs you might want to add or change.
If you educate your company leadership on using VOI versus ROI, and arm yourself with data to support VOI, you’ll be able to gauge workplace wellness success in a more meaningful, impactful way.
To learn more about creating a low-cost, highly successful wellness program, download “Workplace Wellness 2.0 — 10 easy steps to an inexpensive, community-based, volunteer-managed, thriving wellness initiative.”