The Numbers Don’t Lie
When thinking of a Workplace Wellness program, we often think of programming. It is also common to think of how much the programming will cost the company. Sponsoring health fairs, and other wellness at work initiatives that often have incentives attached to them require a budget that many people in upper management have a hard time budgeting for. C-Level decision makers are interested in tangible results and returns on the investment that they make in workplace wellness. Sure higher worker morale will give some soft and mostly intangible returns. However, it is often difficult for those decision makers to buy into that concept. Their job is to make the dollars spent make sense.
The good news is that there is a way to show tangible results from a workplace wellness program. Engaging in a program that collects aggregate data and can show trends of costs and utilization bending in the right direction will be enough to sway any cost conscious C-Level decision maker. Obtaining positive results from your wellness program requires diligence, patience and plenty of data. Data can come from such sources as surveys, heath claims analysis, health risk assessments and employee feedback. There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to use data to guide your workplace wellness program, now and in the future:
- Data can tangibly show a reduction in claims cost as well as a migration to proper utilization of health services.
- Date can show a positive return on investment over the long term.
- Data provides current and past information on the health status of your employees.
- Data collection over a long period of time will allow you to determine how effective your wellness initiatives are and how they should be changed to generate more success and accommodate employees’ changing needs.
- Wellness data is tangible evidence of the need for wellness and the effectiveness of your programs – use it to convince management to support and continue to fund your wellness efforts. Data can also help motivate employees as they make changes to benefit themselves and the organization as a whole.
- Health data can be used as a recruiting tool. By sharing overall health data with recruits, your organization shows evidence that your company cares about the wellness of its employees.
- Data about your own employees allows you to benchmark against competitors in your industry and region, to see how your programs and offerings stack up.
NOTE: Data collected cannot contain any personally identifying information, as outlined by the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Wellness plans must also comply with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). Check with legal counsel if you are unsure whether your program complies with either.
A solid workplace wellness program will always use the data to justify the need and quantify the return on the investment in a workplace wellness program. In short the numbers don’t lie.
Stephanie Gray MS, CPT, CCWS