Few organizations report that they evaluate their wellness program regularly. In fact, wellness is not a boardroom priority in many organizations and this is primarily due to inadequate and inconsistent methods of measuring program outcomes. Paradoxically, organizations do not apply the same rigorous measurement to their corporate wellness program as they do to every other aspect of running an organization. Without the scrutiny of evaluation and the measurement of outcomes, it is not possible to determine if program goals and Return on Investment ( ROI) are achieved.
Corporate wellness should be evaluated through the measurement of identified outcomes. Common measurement outcomes at a minimum should include employee participation, improvements in health, ROI, risk profile. Some components of a wellness program should be evaluated on an ongoing basis, some years and some every 2 years or longer. For example, Health Risk Assessments ( HRAs) should ideally be conducted yearly, measuring participation may be on an ongoing basis and measuring ROI maybe every 2 years once the baseline data are collected.
– Feedback for improvement; what works well, what needs to be improved and what else needs to be done?
– Demonstration of value; does the program meet the organization’s expected outcomes?
– Tracking progress; is participation increasing from year to year? are employees getting healthier?
– Reports for accountability; are there reductions in absenteeism or health claims ? what about ROI?
– Comparative data; what are the changes from year to year in the organization’s health risk profile or sick leave. How does an organization compare with other organizations in the same industry sector?
Before embarking on a wellness program, the essential first step is knowing what kind of wellness issues are most common in the organization. So it is necessary to gather baseline data on employee health through a company-wide health risk assessment that can be compared with future assessments. These baseline data should be collected online and should include a collection of biometrics such as blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and blood sugar, together with the Health Risk Assessment questionnaire. Having baseline data on absenteeism and health claims is also an important way to compare changes after the wellness program is implemented to help establish ROI. Employee engagement is a critical success factor and measuring participation rates is a good and relatively easy way to determine employee engagement.
So measurement is critical to establish sustainable interest at the boardroom level and ensure senior management’s ongoing support of the wellness program.