Why start a wellness program?

The ROI of worksite wellness programs.

As a small business owner, you know that formal wellness programs have been in place in large companies and organizations for years – and that all current data demonstrates a significant return on investment for employers when they invest in organized employee health and wellness efforts.

The move to introduce formal wellness initiatives in small companies has been happening more quietly, and while much available measurements are based on larger organizations, there’s little doubt that a healthy workforce – regardless of size – is a more productive workforce. It’s simple: When your employees are healthy, they get sick less often, don’t miss as much work, and are better able to handle stress and meet customer needs more effectively.

Here are some eye-opening statistics that demonstrate the value – and employer return on investment – thanks to formal workplace wellness programs:

  • A review of 32 studies of corporate wellness programs found claims costs were reduced by 27.8%, physician visits declined by 16.5%, hospital admissions declined by 62.5%, disability costs reduced by 34.4%, incidence of injury declined by 24.8%.
  • A study reported average annual savings of $8.5 million during 4 years when 18,331 Johnson & Johnson employees participated in a health and wellness program at work.
  • A separate study of the same group showed reductions in tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low dietary fiber intake and poor motor vehicle safety practices.
  • Another study showed that employees who utilized an employee fitness center gained both physical and psychological benefits: improved morale (64%), job satisfaction (70%), work productivity (66%), energy level (83%), physical fitness (86%), general health (80%), work/life balance (63%), stress management (76%), stamina/endurance (84%), attentiveness at work (70%), healthy back (74%), keeping high blood pressure in check (62%), managing cholesterol levels (68%), and controlling weight (76%).
  • Citibank’s health management program reported an estimated return on investment of $4.56 to $4.73 saved per $1 spent on the program (AJHP, Ozminkowski, Goetzel et al., 1999).
  • Over 5 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Indiana realized a 250% return on its corporate fitness program investment, yielding a ROI of $2.51 for every $1.00 invested (AJHP, Kenneth R. Pelletier, March/April 1991).


From www.aurorahealthcare.org