More than ever, for an organization to build and maintain a strong workforce, it needs to care about its employees as individual people. That means supporting their wellbeing. Across the country and around the world, many HR leaders know this and have increasingly become vocal advocates for wellness programs that deliver real change throughout the business.
But they face a tough challenge: a lack of clear, actionable data. Decision-makers who control the purse strings understand that wellness matters. They understand that it needs to be a priority. But they don’t know how to determine the concrete impacts of their investments into worker wellbeing.
As chief people officer for Gympass, which focuses on the wellness space, I know how crucial wellbeing data is. Businesses need the clearest figures possible in order to make investment decisions. So, my team conducted a study, which included polling more than 2,000 human resource leaders across the world.
The responses they gave us proved to be powerful. In our new study, The Return on Wellbeing, we show the overwhelming financial case for wellness initiatives. And we provide a formula to empower every HR team, at any size company, to calculate the impact of its efforts.
The many ways wellbeing pays off
Our survey respondents included people leaders with numerous titles, from HR directors and managers to vice presidents and chief-level officers. We collected responses from a wide variety of businesses large and small, across 11 countries. The findings were consistent—a strong sign that wellbeing is key to driving performance in any company.
Among the figures: 90% of companies see a positive ROI (return on investment) from their wellness initiatives—the same amount that sees a positive return from other benefits such as health insurance. Nearly as many (85%) credit their wellness program with reducing the costs of recruitment and use of sick days. And all 100% of the HR leaders polled said wellness programs are important for employee satisfaction, a crucial factor in attracting and maintaining a top-notch workforce.
This comes on top of our study last year, The State of Work-Life Wellness. As HRE reported, the study found that 77% of employees would consider leaving a company that does not focus on wellbeing, and even more (83%) believe their wellbeing is as important as their salary.
Our new study takes organizations through the process of calculating the ROI of their wellbeing programs. The formula centers on four categories: productivity increases; talent management savings; healthcare savings; and wellness program costs. Each category involves its own set of metrics for organizations to use in calculating these figures.
Building a holistic program
The formula is also crucial for helping HR leaders to constantly analyze, tweak and improve their organizations’ wellness efforts.
Building a successful program requires a broad array of offerings because wellbeing is holistic, and no two individual wellbeing journeys are the same. It encompasses not only physical and mental health, but also a feeling of being engaged, appreciated and competent; having a sense of meaning; enjoying positive relationships; and more. The more that organizations can do to boost their team members on all these fronts, the greater the ROI will be.
This also means doing something we don’t do enough: setting an example by taking better care of ourselves. HR teams are among those facing high levels of stress and burnout. But it’s only when we improve our own wellbeing that we show team members we mean it—that we really want them to devote the time and energy to it.
I’ve experienced this firsthand. In recent years, I revolutionized my own wellbeing, and I’ve seen the results. When we invest our own time and energy into our wellness, we become better leaders—and the organization is transformed, one healthier, happier individual at a time. The entire spirit of the business improves and, with it, the bottom line.
It’s my hope that this new study will help organizations chart a new path forward. With hard figures to back up and guide their efforts, HR teams will be equipped to set a data-driven course—and deliver their people a greater state of wellbeing.