With growing concerns over the accuracy and reliability of Workplace Wellness ROI (return on investment) data, there is an emerging trend toward capturing the VOI value of investment of workplace wellness initiatives.

Forward-thinking organizations are now starting to embrace different wellness outcomes that identify intangibles or qualitative benefits versus the hard benefits of ROI measures. Whether measuring ROI or VOI, organizations need to first and foremost establish corporate-specific wellness objectives, KPI’s, and desired outcomes that are directly tied to corporate growth objectives/strategies. To achieve optimal buy-in and participation of wellness programs, offerings and measurement of such should involve employee input by way of interest surveys of senior management through to front-line employees.

Comprehensive, VOI-based metrics typically measure improvements in employee/organizational health, productivity and performance versus pure financial savings from reduced health care costs (as is often the case with ROI-focused metrics).

Examples of VOI performance indicators and outcomes from workplace wellness programs (i.e. arbitrary percentage targets) that might be tracked and measured via employee surveys and corporate data include:

  • 15% reduction in employee absenteeism
  • 10% increase in employee participation of Corporate Walking Program
  • 5% reduction in employee smoking
  • 2% reduction in blood pressure of high-risk employees
  • 15% improvement in employee morale
  • 5% improvement in retaining and/or attracting high performing employees
  • 10% increase in customer sales or customer satisfaction
  • 5% increase in new customer acquisition
  • reduced presenteeism contributing to 20% decreased rejection rate of manufactured products

The bottom line is that the future success of workplace wellness may be contingent on a more diverse and comprehensive approach to measuring the returns on workplace wellness initiatives.

As posited by Graham Lowe, author of Creating Healthy Organizations, cost-benefit should be only one of many inputs for decisions about resources allocations in workplaces.