We want to believe there’s value in worksite wellness to stop the bleeding on medical claims cost. We wonder if wellness will improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. Sure, it might happen. But the Magic 8 Ball likely says “Outlook Not So Good” on the Return on Investment.
When Wellness Doesn’t Impact Health
Not all wellness programs are created equal. Some might deliver ROI, but most never will. Consider the potential ROI from a walking challenge. How do you even measure whether it worked or not? Compare that to the potential ROI from a rigorous disease management program implemented through an employer clinic (preferably integrated with a benefit strategy). The former might have required a low investment, but did anyone really expect it to have an impact on claims? And while the latter would have required a significantly higher upfront investment, you’d be able show a direct correlation to claims reduction.
The point is, maybe your benefit strategy shouldn’t be focused so much on a cheap wellness program. If you want to impact the health of a workforce and medical claim trend here are five questions to ask.
Five Questions to Shape Your Workforce Health Investment
What are your true pain points? Team chemistry? A wellness challenge might just help. Long term health? Not so much.
What are the financial goals or success measures of your investment? And how do they stack up against other investments you might make in your workforce?
How does your program, whether wellness or otherwise, align with your organizational goals? How might it impact your operations?
Will your solution save money? How?
What level of engagement would you need for the investment to pay out?
If you find a wellness program that delivers a strong ROI power to you. Otherwise, you might as well just give your Magic 8 ball another shake.
PS: If you hear a wellness vendor claim they deliver 3:1, 5:1, 10:1 (yes, I have heard it) ROI for their clients, put on your sneakers and run for the hills…as fast as you can. (Don’t forget to track your steps.)