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July 24, 2012

Is Your Wellness Budget Alive and Kicking?

Filed under: Benefits,General HR Buzz,Wellness10:19 pm

As you begin to work through the annual budgeting process, you are often confronted with the question: Are we going to continue to put money into this program or not? Those decisions are tough; everyone wants to believe their program is adding value to the organization. One program I wanted to consider today was wellness.

According to participants in a survey recently released by Virgin HealthMiles (www.nationalemployeewellnessmonth.com), 32 percent of those offering a wellness program indicate they will be increasing their investment in the program by as much as 10 percent. Why are employers offering wellness programs? The number one response was to “reduce healthcare costs” followed by “creating a culture of health”.

Wellness experts agree that achieving return on investment in a wellness program requires consistency and a long-term outlook; realizing healthcare savings takes longer than expected. Flu shots and cancer screenings are typically viewed as cost effective because healthcare savings can be shown in a short amount of time. Yet these types of activities do not require employees to actually change behaviors. The programs’ ability to change employee behaviors as well as the ability to measure the programs’ true impact are top concerns voiced by employers when considering the viability of a wellness program.

What is your organization doing with its wellness program budget this year? How are you measuring your return on investment, in the short-term and the long-term? Let us know your thoughts.

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