VOI is a marker of wellness program success, says IFEBP

According to a new report by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), when it comes to measuring wellness program success, employers are not necessarily just focusing on the financial bottom line. Twenty-eight percent of the employers included in the IFEBP report use traditional return on investment (ROI) numbers, which typically measure the financial success of an employer’s wellness program by comparing the money spent on it to money saved, when determining the worth of their wellness programs.

However, half of the employers, says IFEBP, are using at least one value on investment (VOI) measure to track wellness program success. VOI represents the long-term, sometimes intangible wellness benefits for an organization, and VOI measures include employee engagement, used by 30% of employers in the report, absenteeism, used by 18%, increased productivity, used by 17%, and recruitment/referral rates, used by 13%. The results are set forth in “A Closer Look: Workplace Wellness Outcomes,” available through the IFEBP website.

Characteristics of high VOI. According to Julie Stich, CEBS, research director at IFEBP, “Employers reporting a strong VOI are taking a more holistic approach to wellness,” adding, “Beyond traditional wellness initiatives, they are offering options like stress-management programs, staff outings, charity drives and flexible work hours.”

IFEBP found that, in general, employers with positive wellness VOI offer a wider range of wellness offerings than do other organizations. Included among positive VOI offerings, according to IFEBP, are fitness and nutrition initiatives, screening and treatment programs, social and community events, stress and mental health offerings, and purpose and growth initiatives.
IFEBP also discovered the use of a wide variety of communication channels by wellness programs with positive VOI. These include seminars, speakers, testimonials, books, brochures, health fairs, and social media.

Incentives appear to work. IFEBP says that, when it comes to increasing wellness program participation, incentives are popular and appear to work. For example, participation was higher when incentives were offered for health screenings (57% v. 40%), for weight-loss programs (37% v. 17%), and for attending health fairs (54% v. 37%). Participation also increased due to targeting programs that were based on employee health risks, worker surveys based on feedback on initiatives, the inclusion of spouses and children in offerings, and support communicated by company leaders.

In short, IFEBP reports that there are three factors that are repeating themes across organizations with positive ROI, VOI, and great workplace cultures. They are a greater level of wellness communication, a willingness to seek worker input, and an effort to include families.

SOURCE: IFEBP press release, February 11, 2016.

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