By: Miki Kobane CHWC, CIC, CNS
As the wellness industry turns toward a more holistic approach to behavior change, employers are looking for new ways to measure and evaluate the success of their wellness programs to justify the investment.
While the demand for wellness programs to produce a guaranteed return on investment (ROI) decreases, we are experiencing eagerness by employers of all sizes, to understanding and embrace VOI.
Before we can understand the reasons for this shift, it is important to understand the history attached to wellness ROI. Historically, traditional wellness programs were created with one purpose in mind: to reduce the rising costs of health care through reduced or stabilized medical insurance premiums. And while this was an interesting, and at times, successful endeavor for large employers, wellness programs that focused solely on the physical health of their employees had little to no impact on the mid-size to small employer. The result was a lack of confidence in wellness programs to change the trajectory of chronic disease and, at the same time, offer any real investment value.
According to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, today’s employers are using measures that calculate the VOI to measure success.
Half of the 700 employers surveyed are using at least one VOI measurement to track success, including:
- Employee engagement (30%)
- Turnover (22%)
- Absenteeism (18%)
- Productivity (17%)
- Recruitment/referral rates (13%)
In addition, 52% of the employers surveyed indicate their number one reason to offer wellness is to invest in and increase employee health and engagement.
Companies that are more likely to embrace VOI are also radically changing the overall focus of their wellness programs. This most often begins by establishing a clear company culture that supports all areas of an employee’s wellbeing. Plan designs are evolving to include physical, emotional, financial, social, occupational wellbeing and more.
PriorityHealth is taking this conversation one step further. We are asking our clients to consider a different kind of VOI–value of the individual.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Midwest region’s average annual employer cost per employee (including wages, benefits, paid time off) was $64,542.40. Replacing an employee lost to chronic disease can cost up to 150% of their annual salary. An individual smoker can cost an employer $6,000 each year in additional medical costs and lost productivity.
With these stats in mind, VOI that centers on value of the individual should inspire companies to rethink their wellness programs with individuals in mind. There’s not a one-size fits all solution—since every organization is made up of individuals with unique wellbeing needs and interests. That’s when working with wellness experts who can help create a specialized plan for your business is so important. Check with your health plan to see what options are available to support your wellness program needs.
Remember, when your most valuable resource—your employees—are happy and healthy mentally, physically, financially and socially, so is your organization.
About the Author: Miki Kobane, CHWC, CIC, CNS identifies opportunities to reduce risk, support culture, and improve the health and productivity of Priority Health members. As the director of wellness at Priority Health, she oversees the development of strategically designed wellness programs and applies her holistic philosophy to include a multi-dimensional approach to health and performance. Miki’s methodology includes financial, emotional, professional, organizational culture, workers compensation, disability risks and more. She has over 35 years of experience in employee benefits, human resources, and the health and performance industry. Miki is a Certified Health and Wellness Consultant, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Certified Intrinsic Coach®.