Tag Archive for: employee wellness

Management often looks for returns to justify the financial and labor investment into employee wellness programs, just as what they would do in other business initiatives. Two types of perspectives usually come up: return on investment (ROI) and value on investment (VOI). Here’s a quick look at the differences between these two assessment methodologies.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The basic premise of measuring ROI is that an organization invests in employee health hoping to eventually extract lower health care costs in the future. Traditionally, ROI has been a popular way for executives to justify a wellness program, especially for organizations focused on cost containment. Unfortunately, ROI is a limited set of goals, and research indicates that employers actually have many reasons for offering health and wellness programs outside of just cutting health care costs.

Additionally, to accurately measure the value of any program, the metrics need to be based on the reason for initiating it. Given the fact that employee wellness programs are (and should be) based on many holistic improvement metrics, they cannot be authentically evaluated unless more outcomes are measured than the amount of medical cost savings. ROI on wellness programs (reducing claims and health care costs) is only a subset of the true value of investment.

If wellness programs are continuing to work towards providing benefits such as lower health care costs and other changes, why are companies still investing in such initiatives? Simply put, there is a lot to be gained from taking care of employee health beyond lower health care expenses.

Value on Investment (VOI)

VOI is a broad measure of all the benefits conferred by employee health and wellness programs. It is important to note that moving the focus to VOI does not mean that there are no financial returns to be had from wellness programs. Simply put, VOI benefits go beyond lower health care expenses and include such metrics as productivity, employee morale, retention, and satisfaction, all of which impact an organization’s bottom line.

When this broader context is taken into account, companies are able to achieve a complete view of program effectiveness that goes beyond dollar to dollar cost. On the strength of this view, organizations can then fine-tune their wellness programs.

Some of these key value-on-investment metrics are easier to track than others, but few are beyond the reach of data. Examples of such tracking include measures of employee engagement, safety incidents, absenteeism, turnover, and business profitability. Many companies already track this data but don’t analyze it in relation to workforce health. There is a direct linkage, for example, between employee wellness programs and the all-important ability to attract and retain talent.

Measuring VOI

A company consists of people, and anything that promotes a healthy lifestyle for those people will naturally benefit almost all of an organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Below are a few ways in which these connections are directly validated.


Productivity is the 3rd most popular reason for investing in health.  That should come as no surprise given that unwell employees cost U.S. employers about $530 billion in annual productivity. This is due to both absenteeism as well as presenteeism, a term used for workers who show up feeling ill. There are other, subtler effects of less-than-optimal health in the workforce. For instance, one study shows that obese people exhibit poorer decision-making skills, and helping them lose weight improves cognitive functioning as well as delivers other health benefits. Sitting for too long also leads to cognitive decline, and the availability of standing desks for employees has been demonstrated to result in higher productivity.

62% of employees with wellness programs felt their program boosted morale and increased their productivity, and 56% reported having taken fewer sick days because of their program. Finally, the topic of stress and mental health has an important part in any discussion about productivity and wellness. Stress hormones pose health risks for human cognitive ability, and knowing that paid sick leave is available decreases employees’ stress levels.

A problem with measuring productivity is that it is hard to track. In theory, productivity can be measured by dividing business outputs (such as calls made, services produced, etc.) over the total number of employees. However, in an organization with many departments, only a few of which are actually client-facing. Business outputs rely on a small subset of employees while other departments work to keep the business running in the background without direct attribution to the products. On top of that, the quality of the output is as important as quantity, adding another layer to the assessment.

The bottom line is: measuring productivity is tricky business, but it can be done. Many organizations and teams now measure their productivity based on hitting departmental and personal goals, with standardized systems like KPIs. Additionally, employees can rate their own level of productivity. While self-report data should be used with caution, when combined with the metrics mentioned above, provide a more complete picture. Measuring productivity this way is not only good for justifying wellness programs, but it is also crucial in propelling the organization forward from a business point of view.


Replacing an employee costs between 20% and 213% of their annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and over 3 million people quit their jobs every month of 2018. This quit rate is nearly at a 17-year high, and those workers are searching for something better. Today’s employees, especially millennials, look for a company that cares about their wellbeing — and backs up that caring with concrete actions.

In a tight labor market, economists would expect to see wages rising as employers compete for workers. Interestingly, this is not what’s happening; instead, reflecting the priorities of workers, benefits of all kinds are becoming more generous. Retention increases when companies demonstrate that they care about healthy employees — and this extends even to workers who don’t make use of a wellness program. A survey found that 73% of employees without access to wellness programs want them, including 42% who are “very interested.”

Compared to productivity, employee retention is much easier to track. The formula is relatively simple: divide the number of employees who left during a period by the total number of employees at the end of a period to get the percentage.


Research demonstrates that worker satisfaction correlates closely with whether or not an employer has a wellness program. Of employers offering wellness programs, 67% reported increased employee satisfaction, 66% reported increased productivity, 63% reported increased financial sustainability and growth, and 50% reported decreased absenteeism.


The list for VOI metrics is long, so let’s throw in a catch-all category call “other.” In this category are metrics that pertain to the organization’s specific business goals, whether it is revenue, operation efficiency, scope of impact, etc.

In many cases, wellness program effectiveness can be reflected directly in the business outcome. This is simple to understand: team members who feel healthier and more positive about their job will have an influence on everyone they come into contact with.

Depending on the organization’s goal, this metric will look different for different programs. By definition, most organizations are already tracking these core business outcomes, and simply need to correlate the data with employee wellness program participation.

Acting to Improve VOI

So, what’s the best way to optimize VOI in wellness programs? In most cases, it is simply a matter of improving employee engagement and utilization in the wellness program that has been put into place. There are several tried-and-true methods.

  • Multiple channels of communication: Employees cannot participate in programs that they are not aware of. Organizations can get higher engagement rate by making sure to inform employees of the program through a broad range of communication channels, such as emails, internal communication tools, flyers, wellness portal, etc… Generating excitement through word-of-mouth is another effective channel to recruit participants.
  • Variety of offerings: The most successful wellness programs have a wide range of offerings available to participants. This is because people have different needs, and they will only engage in a program if it addresses those needs. A good program should include all major markers of holistic wellness, such as mental health, physical activity, stress management, and nutrition, and is delivered through a variety of programs such as webinars, activity tracking, and informational articles.
  • Leadership support: A study from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) found that leaders of top-scoring organizations that publicly recognized employees for healthy actions and outcomes and served as role models for prioritizing health and work/life balance were more likely to report employee health improvements and medical cost improvements relative to organizations that did not have public recognition from leadership. Programs without leadership support and engagement are simply checking the box. By having leadership involved, the organization is truly building up its culture of health.

Ideally, offering wellness programs does lead to healthier employees, which does lead to lower health care costs. However, measuring ROI has been an elusive goal for most employers. Instead of focusing on dollar-for-dollar cost savings, organizations should adopt a value-on-investment measurement framework. Once these holistic metrics are captured and analyzed alongside data on engagement in wellness programs, organizers can paint a complete picture of the program effectiveness and start fine-tuning their wellness offerings.

When the VOI of a wellness program is measured, the organization’s profitability will reflect the true extent of benefits that arise from a healthier workforce.

There is no question that this past year has had a significant impact on the workplace resulting in many employers to evaluate the new norm to operate their organization and how they offer employees with benefits. For years, we have discussed the importance of a holistic approach to offering benefits and now more than ever, taking care of our employees and their individual needs are critical!

More and more employees are turning to their employer asking for support in areas such as mental health, financial concerns, juggling their home life and more!  In a recent study conducted by SHRM, 58% of employers are offering their employees wellness benefits, 83% are offering mental health coverage and 79% of employers offer an EAP.

Leaders are taking a step and back and considering how they are taking care of their employees, what resources they have in place and taking steps towards ensuring employees are feeling supported, they are taking care of their well-being and creating the right culture.

Balancing work and life activities this past year has been extremely difficult for many employees!  Well-being benefits can support your employee’s mental health and well-being. Employers can use regular check-ins to gauge their employees’ needs and offer benefits that care for the whole individual.

Below I have listed a variety of trends Well365 is seeing in popular employee perks to help you evaluate your benefits and determine if it is time for you to revamp!

Healthcare and Flexible Spending Accounts

Historically, the flexible spending account has been a “use it or lose it” account, but a new law is allowing employees to hold on to their money for an additional year. The Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in December. The legislation was designed to provide Americans with financial relief from the pandemic.

Wellness Programs

Employee wellness has been a major area of concern throughout the pandemic, as stress, depression and anxiety have plagued employees. December marked the lowest levels of employee well-being since the start of COVID-19, according to the Mental Health Index by Total Brain and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions. Wellness programs like exercising and financial assistance are increasing in popularity as employees seek ways to manage stress and build healthier habits during the pandemic.

Retirement Plans

Retirement has always been important and as markets fluctuate and employees’ financial needs evolve, traditional retirement plans aren’t enough to secure a worker’s financial future anymore. Giving this past year and the pandemic, it has made it more difficult for individuals to reach their long-term savings goals.  As an employer, consider implementing education on how to help employees save for the long-term.


Most organizations have a paid time off policy, but one that includes time dedicated specifically to volunteering can show employees your organization values community involvement and helping others.

Physical Activity Initiatives

Stay active regularly helps to promote health and boosts employee engagement, according to SHRM. 52% of workers surveyed by SHRM claimed that they had more energy and felt more productive when participating in a physical wellness program.


Employers understand how important it is for employees to unplug and recharge. Social distancing, lockdowns and remote work have all negatively impacted people’s mental health and interfered with their lives and the way they work. Even though travel options are limited due to the pandemic, it is important for employers to encourage employees to use their time off so they can rest their minds and improve their overall health.

Mental Health

While 96% of employers think they are doing enough to support employee mental health, just 69% of employees feel the same, according to a recent report by Ginger, a mental healthcare platform. 92% of employers say they have increased their focus on mental health during the pandemic, but just 57% of employees agree. The pandemic has increased the focus on mental health as more employees struggle with depression, anxiety and high rates of burnout.

For more information on how Well365 can help you and your team enhance your employee benefit offerings, contact info@corewell365.com.

If you take a look at some of the most successful wellness programs, there will be numerous common themes in all of them, including wellness champions.  These organizations recognize that wellness is hard and champions ease that burden; if it were easy, obesity, chronic conditions, and out-of-control medical expenses would not be critical issues for so many people.  Establishing a formal wellness champion committee program is one easy and important way for employers to optimize engagement and program results.

So, Let’s start with: What is a wellness champion?

Wellness champions are employees who are passionate about wellness and can serve as ambassadors of your wellness program.  They are leaders of a grassroots movement that promotes engagement by helping other employees get involved.  Some of the responsibilities include communications at their specific office location or within their department, being a captain in a team wellness challenge, and helping users setup their accounts and get involved.  The latter responsibility is one that is often overlooked, but it is critical to success for sustainable engagement with non-tech savvy employees.  Many of these employees are baby boomers and need a little help with downloading and using an online platform or setting up a wearable device.  Although this cohort may be reluctant to proactively ask for help, a wellness champion can offer their assistance, and once the employee gets over to initial setup process, they can be sustainably engaged in the program.

What are the qualities of a good wellness champion program?

A wellness champion should be someone who brings a lot of energy, positivity and is someone who will support and care about the success of the organization’s wellness initiatives.  I encourage all organizations that we work with to think of inviting a diverse group to your wellness champion program.  Wellness champions should come from various departments, have different levels of seniority, and represent the different personas within your organization.  This will allow the wellness champions to be a subset of your entire employee base while reflecting their needs, concerns, challenges, and more.  The better the group represents all employees, the better they will be able to serve them.

Good wellness committees and champions also recognize and reward their champions for going well beyond their day-to-day responsibilities at work.  Creating opportunities to publicly recognize their hard work or offering up additional incentives (gift cards, etc.) are also great ways strengthen the core of your grassroots movement.  Although recognition and rewards will motivate wellness champions, it is important to select individuals who are already intrinsically motivated.  Recognition and rewards should be the icing on the cake.

Another hallmark of a good wellness champions program is creating a formal feedback loop.  Since the group should be a reflection of your employee base and interacting with users regularly, they are a great source of immediate information.  We encourage having a regular meetings (once per month) for wellness champions to share thoughts, ideas, and feedback to each other.  This will allow for wellness champions to learn and grow from each other and provide opportunities for iterative changes and improvements to your program.

Want to learn more?  Contact Well365 at:  info@corewell365.com

The word “pandemic” has a new meaning to many employers and employees after the past year. Businesses and individuals are looking for ways to bounce back after a year of being challenged emotionally, physically and financially. Although employers cannot necessarily give their employees motivation, they can provide them with some useful resources and tips to help inspire them to get started working on themselves!

We all have heard of terms self-development and self-care, and maybe would consider them the same. However, it is importance to recognize the difference.

  • Self-Care: Active engagement in things that reduce stress and improve mental health. This could consist of taking a hot bath, reading a book, going outside, meditation or just talking with a friend. It can be different for everyone, but the act of self-care leads to reduced stress and releasing hormones that can make you feel better.
  • Self-Development: Working towards becoming a better version of oneself through their own efforts. This could be taking an online class, goal setting, working out/being healthier or reading a book about an area of improvement. Personal development may vary from person to person as well, but results in improved skills, knowledge, or ability.

Although different, both ideas are important. When someone feels in control of their stress and feels valuable, it makes them more effective in many areas of their life. It can improve their work, their relationships, and their personal life. Also, by taking these two actions, anyone can learn how to overcome difficult circumstances.

As we overcome the past year of being in a pandemic, employers and employees can use these to concepts to help them be stronger. As an employer, offer your employees opportunity to take their breaks and step away from their work. Also, if able, offer different opportunities or suggestions for employees’ self-development or advancement. As an employee, make sure your needs are being met outside of work as well (self-care and self-development) so you are able to do your best while you are on the clock and not have to take it home with you.

As many people continue to navigate their workload or continue to work remotely, it is easy to feel disconnected! However, employers and employees can stay connected, while offering them opportunity for self-development and self-care, through a wellness program.

Don’t have a wellness program? We can help get you started! Email info@corewell365.com for more information.

One significant way many employers can help improve their employee’s health is by helping them quit the use of tobacco and nicotine products. Not only will this increase their productivity, reduce non-productive time during the day and lower health-care costs, it will also help them feel their best and live a happier, healthier life outside of work! Tobacco cessation programs are a great way to offer assistance to employees and help support them as they overcome their addiction to tobacco and nicotine.

Many tobacco cessation programs include group classes, support groups or counselling, in combination with information about treatment and medication options. Many employers offer online classes or digital content as a simple and inexpensive tobacco cessation program. Although this option allows employers to “check the box” on offering a tobacco cessation program for employees, there is still more that they could be doing.

Research shows that individuals are more likely to quit the use of tobacco or nicotine when they have a combination of nicotine replacement theory, medication, and behavioral intervention (such as classes, coaching, and information alone) (1). Because of this, one thing that employers should consider when designing their program is offering Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to their employees at no cost. Through Well365’s tobacco cessation program, a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (CTTS) will work with individuals and help get them started to quitting using a NRT. Well365 will then work with the employer to ensure that the individual gets the NRT that they need. Through individualized coaching, Well365’s CTTS will follow up with the individual to confirm compliance and make any adjustments that may be needed.

Another way that employers can help employees quit is by covering the cost of all tobacco cessation medication. While Well365 cannot offer pharmacotherapy, such as Chantix or Wellbutrin, employers who have input on what their health insurance plan covers can make sure their plan covers the cost of all tobacco cessation pharmaceutical drugs at 100%. If an employer cannot change their coverage or employees have High Deductible plans, they can also offer 100% reimbursement to tobacco cessation pharmaceuticals. This allows our CTTS to assist them in obtaining the correct prescription, free of charge to the employee.

As an employer, consider taking their tobacco cessation program to the next level. Be proactive and help make the healthy choice, the easy choice for your employees.


  1. https://www.physiciansbriefing.com/internal-medicine-21/smoking-cessation-news-628/uspstf-advises-pharmacotherapy-to-aid-smoking-cessation-758069.html

Walking has all sorts of health benefits among them the ability to help lower your blood pressure and strengthen your heart. Many people at risk for stroke and heart disease are overweight, unhealthy and have a hard time exercising. Thankfully walking is an easy, low-impact workout that almost anyone can do.

Start where you’re at. Just put on your shoes and head out there. If all you can do is walk for five to ten minutes, start there. It’s a great start and that’s a lot more exercise than you’ve been getting. Stick with it for a week and then see if you can make it for 15 minutes.

If you can go for 30-minute walk, start there. Pick up the pace, walk briskly and after a week or two, try to go for 45 minute walks. Or break up your walking workout into 3 shorter sessions interspersed throughout your day.

If you have any health conditions and in particular, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure and are at risk for heart disease, discuss your walking plans with your doctor. The two of you can come up with a plan that’s appropriate and safe for you.

Getting out and walking will help you on several different levels. The act of walking itself, particularly if you can go for a walk out in a pretty park is very relaxing and will lower your blood pressure soon after the walk. That’s a terrific benefit of walking and something that will help you feel better right away. But the benefits don’t stop there.

The regular exercise will strengthen your heart. Remember your heart is a muscle and going for a brisk walk works out more than your leg muscles. As you work out your heart, it gets stronger and better at pumping blood through your body. And as you strengthen your muscles and your body overall, you are likely losing body fat. That’s good news for your blood pressure long term. All it takes is heading out there for a short little walk each day. As you get stronger those walks will get longer and you may even give swimming or riding your bike a try.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, and losing weight are some of the most effective ways to reduce hypertension regularly. Add to that the fact that walking helps you destress and it’s no wonder that walking regularly has such beneficial effects on your health. Ready to get started? Put on your shoes and go for that first walk.

We were designed to walk for miles and miles to hunt and gather our food. Yet, in modern society, we spend most of our time sitting down.  That is not good for our bodies leading to a host of health problems. This is probably one of the most important reasons to make an effort to move around and go for a walk each day. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Most of us sit for our work, we eat sitting down, and to be honest all we want to do when we come home from work is plop down on the couch for a Netflix marathon until bedtime.

In other words, getting and staying in the habit of going for a walk each day can be a bit of a challenge. But that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to get in the habit of going for that walk just like we’re in the habit of brushing our teeth twice a day or taking out the trash on Tuesdays. Once it’s a well-ingrained habit, it won’t be as much of a challenge to make sure we go for a walk each day.

A great place to start is to find a walking route you enjoy. It helps to make it as easy as possible. Your favorite walk may offer beautiful vistas, but if it’s a 30-minute drive there and back, you’ll be less likely to do it every single day. Instead, save that walk for the weekends and come up with something convenient and pleasant for your everyday walking routine. If you can, find a route in your own neighborhood so you can leave right from your front door. Just lace up your shoes and start walking.

Taking the same route every day helps form that habit. It’s also encouraging to notice that you can walk the same loop faster or with less effort over time. It proves that you’re making a difference and are getting stronger and increasingly fitter.

Listening to your favorite music, podcast, or audiobooks is also helpful. It will make the time go by faster and give you something else to look forward to. You can even use your favorite media as a way to bribe yourself to go for your daily walk. Let’s say you have a couple of podcasts you enjoy. Save them for your walks and only let yourself listen to them while you’re walking. It’s a great incentive to get out there even on days when you’re not feeling it.

Last but not least consider walking with other people. Find a walking group in your area, or talk a friend or neighbor into becoming your walking buddy. Not only is it more fun to walk when you have someone to talk to, it also has some built-in accountability. It’s much easier to skip a walking workout when you know that other people are waiting for you and relying on you to join them.

Give these tips a try and see if they help you make walking a daily habit and an integral part of your health, your fitness, and your life.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, or are looking for something easy you can do every single day give walking a try. It’s the perfect low impact way to exercise. It’s easy to do, you don’t need any special equipment and you can start at the fitness level you’re at.

If you’re not in the best of shape, start by going for a 10 or 15-minute walk around the neighborhood and work your way up from there. If you’re already in great shape, walking can still provide an effective workout. Walk fast and incorporate some hills and even stairs.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. If you’re like most of us, make sure that you ease into your walking routine!  Find a pair of comfortable shoes, put them on and go for a stroll through your neighborhood. You could also find a local park with a nice path you can walk on. If the weather doesn’t permit walking outside, head to your local mall and walk or hop on a treadmill.

You can even walk in place at home in front of your TV. Here’s a simple little idea to get you moving more. As you’re sitting on the couch at night watching TV, get up during commercial breaks and march in place until your favorite TV show comes back on. If you’re using a service like Netflix, make yourself walk in place for 10 minutes in between episodes. Or turn on the TV and challenge yourself to march in place during the entire show. Time will fly while you’re having fun watching TV and moving.

Speaking of having fun, going for a walk outside can be a lot of fun too. Mix up your route and walk in different areas of town, or visit different parks. Invite a friend to come along with you to walk. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to and having a walking buddy keeps you accountable. Last but not least, grab your phone and listen to music or audiobooks as you walk to make the time go by faster.

The main thing is that you get out there, move around, and get some exercise in a way that’s gentle on your joints, your heart, and the rest of your body and that’s what walking will do for you. Just give it a try and see if you don’t start to feel better, happier, and stronger after a few weeks of regular walks.