The topic of return on investment (ROI) of wellness programs creates impassioned points of view. Executives’ opinions cover the range also. Some feel that “it is the right thing to “, while others remain unconvinced that there is a compelling financial business case for wellness initiatives. As a safety director for several large organizations with added responsibility for wellness, I thought I was ahead of the curve by modeling wellness after successful safety programs. I identified a management champion and a safety professional to lead a wellness committee, used data to identify the top five challenges, and developed a strategy to attack these challenges via a variety of programs and delivery methods. We surveyed employees and measured participation rate. Successful? Yes, in terms of employee satisfaction. Well meaning? Absolutely. Could I demonstrate ROI? No.
I’ve since learned that in order to be successful, gain credibility, and show results, safety and wellness need to be supported by a company culture that is dedicated to achieving a healthy, safe workforce. An integrated, cross-functional team that includes safety, HR, operations, etc., identifies key metrics to measure outcomes, and sets strategy to ensure that programs and practices – no matter where they originate – support this joint vision of a healthy workforce. Addressing these two previously-separate functions together seems to resonate more clearly with senior management. Here at RCM&D, we’ve created an Integrated Safety and Wellness consulting group that assesses clients’ current state and assists clients develop strategies to achieve this vision.