A survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans discovered that 28% of organizations are tracking the return on investment (ROI) for their employee wellness programs.  This is in contrast to the modern value on investment (VOI) perspective that continues to become more popular as an assessment methodology.  Half of the surveyed organizations were using at least one VOI measure to track success, including employee engagement (30%), turnover (22%), absenteeism (18%), productivity (17%), and recruitment/referral rates (13%).


It comes as no surprise that employee engagement tops the list of VOI measures for wellness program efficacy.  It is the easiest to measure and is the least impacted by confounding variables.  Turnover, a distant second, also is not surprising.  Employees, especially millennials, want to work for companies that place a premium on employee welfare, offer flexible scheduling, and bestow a sense of purpose.  As the Global Wellness Institute describes it, employees want to work for “caring companies”, and these companies are more likely to healthy living at and away from work.  Collectively, turnover and recruitment/referral rates rival the importance of employee engagement, albeit both are closely connected.

The survey also identified common characteristics of positive VOI wellness programs.  Wellness programs with positive VOI offer a wider range of offerings than other organizations as well as are more likely to use a variety of wellness communication channels, including seminars, speakers, testimonials, books, brochures, health fairs, and social media.  “Beyond traditional wellness initiatives, [positive VOI programs] are offering options like stress-management programs, staff outings, charity drives, and flexible work hours.”

Popular Strategies From Those Reporting Success The study used data from 372 organizations of a variety of sizes, industries, and regions across the U.S.

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