IncentFit founder Gabe Priyev shares his analysis of a recent study on corporate wellness and ROI.
Unsurprisingly, a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study showed that 90% of businesses surveyed would increase investment in employee wellness initiatives if only they could better quantify its impact. Or rather, if they could provide proof of a return on investment (ROI).
Further, according to the Shortlister Wellness Trends Report for 2021, the majority of respondents are prioritizing wellness as a business objective more than in the past. 61% of consultants say that interest in wellness programs has remained the same across 2020, while 49% state that the interest has increased since 2019.
This is unsurprising because that seems to be the nature of business. We think that if a business invests money then they do so expecting to get money in return. However, in that same study 80% of businesses that offer wellness initiatives did not conduct an analysis to determine a ROI. That seems counter intuitive doesn’t it? Well, maybe not…
Two Approaches to Wellness Benefits
There are two ways to view the benefits of a wellness program: You can take an analytical approach, and you will soon realize that wellness benefits are nearly impossible to quantify. Your approach ends there.
The second approach is to ask yourself: what are the benefits of a wellness program? You will arrive at answers such as: better health, increased productivity, increased morale, a sense of being cared for, and many other intangibles. Once you understand these benefits, they are no longer “difficult to quantify”, they are immeasurable. They transcend business analytics.
Those 80% of employers did not conduct a detailed examination to find a link between their wellness program and a ROI, but they still offered wellness services.
This is a sure sign that wellness services are valuable for reasons beyond financial motivation. In an article for ResearchWellness.com, Joe Miller describes providing wellness services to employees as an “emotional motivation for the employer to take care of those that make them successful and an emotion from the employee of feeling appreciated”. Ultimately, even though many companies would like to better quantify the ROI of a wellness program, but having healthy, cared for employees is not a means to a financial end: it is an end in itself.