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How To Evaluate The Impact Of Your Employee Wellness Program (The 5 Metrics To Measure)

Employee wellness programs can boost morale, productivity, and overall health within your company. Here’s how to tell if they’re making an impact.

Ana Gotter

Workplace wellness programs have been booming in the past few years, with more companies of all sizes investing into them. The perks of these programs can range from traditional benefits like health insurance to more modern approaches like gym memberships or even chefs in the office.

We know that there is proof that certain perks like food in the workplace can make employees feel valued and appreciated, but these programs are actually thought to improve productivity and potentially even save businesses money in the long run. 

It can be difficult to tell, however, if these investments are paying off and to know if they’re actually making an impact. Fortunately, research has found that there are five key signs that will indicate if your employee wellness programs are worth what you’re putting into them. 

1. Reduced Employee Turnover 

One enormous benefit of employee wellness programs is that they can lead to employees feeling appreciated, improving their overall job satisfaction. Workers like companies that invest back into them, both personally and professionally. 

If your employees really love the wellness program you have implemented, it can actually improve retention rates overall as a direct result. This is particularly true when wellness programs are part of an overall company culture that’s positive and supportive. Keep in mind that a lack of appreciation is why at least 70% of employees will jump ship for a new employer, so having these solid programs that help them can be a huge win here.  

It’s also important to remember that high turnover rates can be expensive for a company. Every time someone leaves, you need to put time and money into finding, hiring, and training new workers, reducing productivity and costing you money. Keeping your best people is the way to go. 


2. Increased Work Output 

Workplace wellness programs can increase work output and productivity two different ways.

The first is that it can help your employees feel appreciated and excited about the company culture, which leads to more engagement at work. This is significant, as the Workplace Research Foundation found that engaged employees were 38% more likely to have above-average productivity than those who were disengaged.

The second is that successful wellness programs will help your team to live healthier, happier lives. When people are eating better, exercising more, and sleeping better, they’ll come in refreshed and with more energy than ever before. This makes it much easier for people to be productive during the day, because more energy to work means that more can get done. You may even see people willing to stay a little later to finish up those projects since they’re not dragging by lunch. 

In this case, there’s a chance that you could be seeing higher return-on-investment (ROI) here. You can calculate this by looking at the increase of revenue that’s resulted from work outputs in the time since the programs were implemented and divide it by the cost of the program itself.


3. Fewer Sick Days Are Needed  

Wellness programs are, at their core, designed to improve employee health and wellness. Self-explanatory, right? Ideally, these programs will start to do what they’re meant to, and the health of your employees will improve.

When this happens, you may see that fewer sick days are needed across the board. 

This criteria can be a little bit tricky. Employees with chronic conditions, after all, will likely still need their full allotment of sick days. Those who are generally healthy, however, may start to use less. They’ll typically still be using their personal days and vacation days, but unplanned sick days will hopefully decrease. 

Even small changes can help with this. If someone is sleeping more, their immune system can be boosted and they’re less likely to get sick. Programs that include health coaching and preventative healthcare may be most likely to reduce sick day usage overall. 


4. Widespread Participation 

Almost all wellness programs are optional, even if employees are incentivized to use them. If you see a big increase in employee participation, therefore, that’s a great sign. There are some companies who have half or more of all of their employees engaged with the programs, showing that they’re perceived to be valuable. 

This one is simple. Most wellness programs allow you to track the amount of participation, including people registering for the program overall or specific health initiatives. Track this overtime, and know that even if you aren’t necessarily seeing direct impact, signs of engagement are solid proof that the program is valued and making an impact. 

5. You See Healthier Behaviors In-Office 

There are some wellness programs that work to teach your team members about health living and offer solutions for how to incorporate it into their lives. If you start noticing healthier behaviors around the office, it typically means that the program is making an impact.

Some programs may implement changes that are more difficult to see, especially if they’re focused on preventive measures. The signs that you can see may also be small, but if you look, they’re there. 

You may start to notice, for example, that some people who have historically burned themselves out working late are heading home at reasonable hours, but coming back reenergized. If your program focuses on walking more, you might also start to notice people rocking their FitBits and taking a stroll at lunch time. 

These changes can be subtle and difficult to spot, especially since you may not always be able to detect the changes on a consistent basis. This is still a great way to evaluate whether your program is making an impact, after all, because small-everyday behaviors are important to a healthy lifestyle. 


Conclusion 

Workplace wellness programs are a relatively new trend, but their popularity with businesses and employers alike are a great sign.

If you’re considering adding an employee wellness program or changing yours up, there are a few things to keep in mind. The Illinois Workplace Wellness Study, for example, looked at how effective these programs were and what businesses could expect to see as a result of them. Here’s what they found:

  • Wellness programs are at their best when they’re optional; this prevents people from feeling judged or pressured, which could otherwise lead to unhappy employees and possibly even a discrimination lawsuit.
  • People who do sign up to participate are likely to be healthy as-is, and already making an effort to take good care of themselves.
  • Healthcare costs typically don’t decrease, at least not by much.
  • People are more likely to get preventative screenings thanks to wellness programs.
  • Employees felt that wellness programs meant that their companies valued their well-being. 

Even if you don’t have the funds to go all-in on a conventional wellness program, consider adding in some healthy changes at work for your team. Offer up healthier snacks with subscriptions to Hoppier, and even give the employees a half day off to do something active as a group. Small changes can lead to big impacts overall. 

Looking for new ways to help your team stay happy and healthy?
Check out our snack and office subscriptions at Hoppier