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Measuring the ROI on workplace wellbeing programs

Measuring the ROI on wellbeing
Investing in an Employee Wellbeing Program gives your workers the chance to improve their mind and body health, but it can also increase the value of your workplace too.

By Christi Malthouse

When you buy a new car you do so knowing it will depreciate in value the moment you drive out of the car yard.

But when you buy a new house you are almost guaranteed an increase in value over time, especially if you make improvements. It makes sense then to invest in property for a return on your hard-earned money.   

Now then imagine that your employees are bricks and mortar, each one providing solid support for your business, making it well-built, strong and reliable. When made of sticks it’s weaker and less dependable. When made of straw it’s at risk of being blown down by the big bad wolf.

So what do you need to do then to make sure that all of your employees are as strong as bricks? You need to invest in their health and wellbeing. You need to help them become sturdy and reliable, and to stay that way.

And that’s where an employee wellbeing program comes in.

What is an Employee Wellbeing Program?

A health and wellbeing program in the workplace involves providing resources and tools to support employee physical and mental health. It forms part of a wider wellness strategy, that promotes awareness of wellbeing and gives workers the chance to improve and maintain their mind and body health for work, and home.

Yes, it costs money to implement an employee wellbeing program, which is why it has for long time been considered a “luxury item.”

But even the savviest of entrepreneurs would conclude that it makes sense to invest in your most valuable asset for a better return. Make improvements to your home and you gain value for resale. Support the wellbeing of your employees and you have happy, loyal workers performing better and producing more, and taking less time off.

What is the ROI of an Employee Wellbeing Program?

So how do the figures add up?

Dollar value is the result of intervention. Act now, save later. Create a workplace environment that supports positive mental and physical health, and it will improve productivity and performance and reduce costs associated with absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.

There is increasing evidence that you can expect a positive return on investment (ROI) of at least $2.30 in benefits per dollar spent, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers ROI analysis report. You can use their ROI tool here to calculate the potential savings you can expect in your own organisation.

The return could be more if it is an effective results-based initiative, like Readiness, that is implemented with encouragement and support from management. A Chapman Institute evaluation of workplace health in Australia found that on average, established wellbeing programs save $5.81 for every $1 invested in employee health and wellbeing. 

Basically, it’s risk management. Insurance if you like.

What is the cost of NOT implementing an Employee Wellbeing Program?

The Productivity Commission estimates that mental health costs Australian workplaces $17 billion each year. Mental health impacts absenteeism, presenteeism and general productivity. 

An Australian Bureau of Statistics study revealed that 91% of employees believe mental health in the workplace is important, and yet just 52% believe their workplace is mentally healthy. One in five Australians has taken time off work because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. 

We still don’t know the full effect of COVID-19 lockdowns on the general population, on the corporate sector, or on numerous other industries, but we do know that mental health issues are on the rise. 

It’s clear more needs to be done to help. It can begin in the workplace, where it will not only benefit the individual but the business as a whole.

What are the benefits of an Employee Wellbeing Program?

In the same way that renovating your property can result in a higher sale profit, investing in the building blocks of your company produces a net gain.

Then there are the extra benefits including a stronger employer-employee relationship, better brand image, a positive work culture, and healthy, happy, loyal employees keeping the big bad wolf away.

If you’re looking to implement an Employee Wellbeing Program within your organisation, head to Readiness for more information.