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November 16, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – ROI

If you approach senior management with a plan to implement a wellness program in your organization, one of the first words out of his or her mouth will most likely be “How do you plan to measure the ROI?”  What ROI refers to is Return on Investment (ROI), a calculation which complicates executive buy-in of wellness programs as it isn’t always easy to obtain significant data of ROI.

We all know wellness programs are important and they have become a staple of many corporate benefit packages.  Some organizations start small, offering reimbursement to employees for gym memberships or holding a wellness fair once or twice a year.  Other organizations simply have a deeply engrained principle that forms the basis for decisions about health and wellness offerings.  And larger organizations may offer monetary incentives for participation in wellness initiatives.

No matter how exciting your wellness plan is or how well received it is by employees, ROI will most likely be the measuring stick for success of the plan in the eyes of your CEO.  Fortunately, some organizations have had plans in place that have been able to measure ROI.  One such example is a state program implemented in Delaware in 2003, appropriately named DelaWELL.  First year’s savings were estimated at $62,000 simply through the reduction of emergency room visits.  Currently, health insurance premiums haven’t increased for the last three years.

As wellness programs have now been in place for several years, we are hearing more about the success of these programs and the resulting ROI.  So although ROI may be a difficult measurement, it’s not impossible.  For more information and free resources, check out the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) by clicking here.

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