Throughout my time in Reward Gateway, I have made it my mission to talk to as many of our valued clients about their employee wellbeing strategies, what their goals are and what they are looking to achieve in employee wellbeing.
This story in particular sticks with me, I was in a meeting with an extremely experienced wellbeing director and upon discussing their organisation’s very light wellbeing budget, I began to start questioning how they were to measure the ROI (return on investment) of their wellbeing initiatives. It’s a typical question, but in this case, I was met with a look of surprise and the remark:
“My financial controller is not concerned about the ROI measurement of our employee wellbeing strategy, far from it.”
She proceeded to tell me what her organisation really cared about here is the story.
It’s far more important to us for an employee to turn around to us and thank us for helping them to improve their lifestyle or help reduce their personal risk of particular health concerns.
She ended by telling me about one particular employee that had managed to reduce their blood pressure through a physical wellbeing solution they had implemented in the workplace, so much so that she could reduce and eventually remove the need for medication. It was the belief of the leadership team that this story alone is enough to make us know that his company’s investment in employee wellbeing was worthwhile and far more important than saving money on the bottom line. I was ecstatic.
As a wellbeing professional it has, of course, always been my deep-rooted belief that an organisation’s employee wellbeing strategy is critical to their business success. Few would challenge that having a healthy workforce is beneficial, but it seems that there are different views on what the true return or value of investment actually are.
The benefits of investing in both the physical and mental wellbeing of your people are vast and it’s always been my key focus to help organisations understand the importance and relevance of this investment in their overall employee wellbeing strategy. Not just for the individual employee’s working life but also for the significant impact this has on the overall goals of their organisation.
During my pursuit of global employee wellbeing or at least within the world of Reward Gateway, I began to challenge the key driver behind workplace wellbeing strategies. Here’s what I've discovered:
- Are absent less and return to work earlier, leading to lower absenteeism costs.
- Have stronger resistance to stress/emotional health concerns. Employees that have a stronger resistance to these concerns are more likely to have less long-term sickness
absences. In the UK, stress and emotional health concerns are largest cause of long term sickness absence. It’s a direct correlation.
- Are more productive, which improves business performance and innovation.
- Result in lower healthcare and risk benefit costs to the business.
Not so long ago, the risk benefits costs to the business was the only factor considered by an organisation. Understandably, this has significant impact on the company's financial performance.
And while the inputs that go into measuring ROI have expanded, I still have to question: Is this enough?
Apparently others agree with me – about a decade ago we started to see the introduction of the value of investment (VOI), or the measure of soft or intangible benefits.
Some of those intangibles include an increase in employee wellbeing leading to:
- Happier, more valued employees
- Improved talent acquisition and increased retention
- A positive corporate brand
- Improved employee engagement
- Happier employees
The satisfying fact is this: However you choose to measure wellbeing in your organisation, whether you set goals for cost savings on sickness absenteeism or choose to support your team in making healthy lifestyle changes to improve their wellbeing, your people and your organisation will equally benefit.