The Business Case for Wellness Plans

We all know wellness plans have their benefits. Improved engagement, attendance, and overall morale to name a few. What you might not realize, is how much money wellness plans end up saving you. Case studies of wellness programs overwhelmingly conclude that they more than pay for themselves. With increased productivity, and lower health-care costs, you really can’t go wrong with a good wellness plan. We’ll take a look at Cianbro and WELCOA’s case studies to prove just how much an emphasis on employee health can benefit your company financially.

Increased productivity is a sometimes overlooked benefit to instituting a wellness plan. According to Cianbro’s case study “In-depth wellness interventions have been shown to return from $3-8 dollars in health, productivity, worker’s compensation, absenteeism and disability after approximately 5 years.” Increased productivity is often associated with better employee engagement. There’s no better sign of engagement than participation in a voluntary program. WELCOA saw approximately 90% participation in their wellness program. That high of a participation level, is a testament to the fact that employees appreciate good benefits, and will take the opportunity to improve their health and performance when given one.

The data that indicates the success of lowering, or at least curbing the increase, in health care costs with wellness plans is there. WELCOA’s plan titled “Merideth,” saw huge success. “From 2006-2011, Meredith reduced its annual health care cost per employee to a 0.9 % increase (improvement over 18.5% increase in 2004-2006). [Merideth also saw a] major reduction in health risk, moving from 13% to 4% of employees in a high-risk category.” Merideth saved an estimated $10 million, and had a $4 to $1 ROI.  Cianbro’s ROI was $2.51 for their wellness program. The numbers don’t lie, wellness programs save you money. Why not attract top talent with your innovative benefits and wellness programs, while simultaneously saving money, and subsequently improving the health of your workforce. It truly is a win-win idea.

The fact of the matter is, the only time a wellness program is actually successful, is when it is well-researched, and high-quality. A wellness plan designed for the sole purpose of saving money, and increasing employee productivity, will likely not be effective. In order to create and implement a great wellness plan, you must include prevention, in the form of lifestyle interventions through diet, exercise and testing, and incentive, through improved benefits, and sometimes even cold hard cash. Research suggests, that if you take the time and resources to research and design a solid wellness plan, your efforts will be rewarded. The pay-off is not only an increase in employee engagement and productivity, and reduced medical costs, it’s the fact that you are genuinely helping your employees get healthier.





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