TORONTO, June 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Organizations should invest in workplace
wellness programs because it makes financial sense to do so, but
Canadian employers are at the infancy stages of evaluating health and
wellness programs and demonstrating the positive return on investment
(ROI) that can be generated.
A Conference Board of Canada report, released today at the Workplace Wellness and Mental Health 2012 conference, provides organizations of all sizes with advice and tools to measure
the return from health and wellness programs.
"In an increasingly competitive economy and labour market, senior
leaders may know instinctively that spending on wellness initiatives
is, in fact, an investment in the health and productivity of their
employees. But wellness practitioners must increasingly be prepared to
demonstrate to senior management that the program is effective and has
a direct impact on the organization's bottom line," said Karla Thorpe, Director, Leadership and Human Resources Research, who will present
the findings of the report Making the Business Case for Investments in Workplace Health and
Wellness, today at 9:30 a.m.
"There is nothing for practitioners to fear in calculating ROI. If
programs are correctly targeted to the health conditions most prevalent
in the workforce—and to areas where employees are receptive to making
lifestyle changes—the financial return to employers will most certainly
Investments in health and wellness programs can lead to higher
productivity, as well as reduce benefit costs, absenteeism, and
presenteeism (circumstances in which an employee is physically at work
but not fully productive). Cost savings are often used to justify
wellness program expenditures.
However, recent studies by The Conference Board of Canada and other
researchers indicate that less than one-third of Canadian organizations
evaluate program outcomes, and fewer than one per cent of employers
rigourously analyze the ROI for wellness programs. Organizations are
currently more focused on measures like participation rates, employee
satisfaction with the program, and employee engagement than on
calculating a formal ROI.
At the outset of a wellness program, it is vital for organizations to
get a baseline measurement of the health of their workforce—identifying
the predominant medical conditions and the leading risk factors. Health
risk assessments and biometric screening are some of the best tools for
establishing a baseline before implementing a new health and wellness
Following the implementation of wellness programming geared to the
business needs, employers should evaluate the program to ensure it is
having the desired impact and make any necessary modifications. For
employers with more sophisticated wellness programs, this evaluation
phase may include a formal return on investment calculation.
Whether organizations are ready to embark on a process of calculating a
formal ROI or not, this report identifies tools and measures—including
a metrics checklist and sample calculations—that employers can use to
determine and demonstrate positive outcomes from their investments in
health and wellness initiatives. Employers are at different stages of
development with regard to their workplace wellness programs. As they
move toward more comprehensive, integrated programs, they can expect to
see a better return on investment.
The study was made possible by the support of the title sponsor,
Standard Life, and contributing sponsors Ceridian, Homewood Human
Solutions, Medavie Blue Cross, Mercer, Pfizer, Sanofi, TELUS Health
Solutions, and The Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care
(CASHC) at The Conference Board of Canada.
In addition to this report, 10 case studies will profile the
organizations interviewed for the research in a series called "Wellness
Metrics in Action: A Spotlight on Employers".
SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448