No rocket science required: Five ways to tell if your employee wellness program really works
You may have read articles detailing the complex algorithms used to determine the benefits of an employee wellness program, but unless you have an advanced math degree from MIT, you probably will not replicate those efforts to equate the financial benefit for your own company.Experts say for every $1 you spend on wellness, you will save $3 to $4 in healthcare costs. That sounds great, but from a functional standpoint, how do you really know if your wellness program is working?
Here are five key indicators to use for your practical assessment:
- Sick days
Everyone gets sick, but some more than others. You can check to see if there is a trend in fewer sick days at both the individual and company level. It may be best to evaluate only those who are participating in your wellness program. If sick days are not decreasing among that group, you need to consider a new approach to employee wellness. If sick days are decreasing, find innovative ways to attract more participants. Keep in mind that a small company with a few cases of the flu or one serious surgical leave could greatly skew the sick days for a period. It is best to evaluate the trend during a time when you consider attendance normal.
Become diligent in tracking employee performance. Healthier employees will not only be absent less, they will also be more productive when they are at work. Determine if more employees are hitting their quotas, meeting their goals, etc. Everyone benefits when employees are able to work to their fullest potential!
- Healthcare utilization
Your health insurance provider should be able to tell you the number of employees who have been hospitalized, seen a physician, had surgery or required medication. Excluding preventive care visits (you want employees to have those!), are these numbers decreasing? With a good wellness program in place, they certainly should be decreasing. You will not be able to get specifics on individual employees, but you should be able to get company-wide trends, which will clearly spell out the answers you seek.
Health problems and financial struggles are two major causes of stress. If your wellness plan incorporates physical as well as financial wellness initiatives, your employees’ stress levels should decrease. Anonymous employee surveys may help you determine how stress is affecting your workforce. Consider offering credit counseling services or investment education to help employees achieve financial wellness.
- Employee satisfaction
Are your employees happy with your wellness program offerings? A good indicator for the level of satisfaction is more employees signing up than dropping out of the program. Is there something else they want from the program?
To learn how one company has benefited from a robust employee wellness program, read The Wellness Payoff to learn about Sentara Healthcare’s success.