Return-on-investment Vs. Value-on-investment

As corporate wellness consultants, we see many employers trying to assign a dollar amount on their return on investment for their wellness program, which is a feat that can be very difficult to achieve accurately. Other than the actual savings on premiums that are achieved using wellness programs, the other benefits, both tangible and intangible are sometimes difficult to valuate. Benefits such as lower turnover, decreased absenteeism, higher overall employee morale and ease of recruitment can be difficult to measure.

For example, what is the value of one sales associate who is excited about winning a corporate wellness program challenge and is more productive as a result? $100 in added sales? $300? $10,000? As you can see, although the excitement of winning positively impacted the productivity of this individual employee, it’s difficult to measure the actual dollar value of the impact. Since questions like these pop up quite often, more and more employers are looking at value-on-investment, rather than return-on-investment.

The concept of value can mean different things to different companies. For one company, value may be seen most from their wellness plan by decreasing turnover if they have been losing employees lately. For another company, value may be derived from the ease of recruitment because they are looking to hire on a number of new employees. The value placed on the positive impacts to the business can be relative to what the company is seeking to get out of the wellness program.

The best way to find out if your wellness plan is working for your business is to measure employee engagement, since this is where the changes in employee behavior begins. Once you have your engagement levels on target, then you must decide exactly what goals you are trying to achieve with your corporate wellness plan and push the programs and solutions within that plan that speak to those goals (challenges). Assign dollar amounts to the percentage increase or decrease of your measuring variables (ie. absenteeism, turnover, productivity).

Finally, over the course of the quarter or year, measure your variables as the various parts of your wellness plan are working. In the end, you’ll be able to value your wellness program in comparison to your investment, allowing you to evaluate your spend and make changes to your corporate wellness program as needed.