Do corporate wellness programs really save companies money? Or are they just a trend that businesses feel like they must adopt? Harvard Business Review (HBR) addressed this question head on and, “The answer, most emphatically, is yes.” How that cost savings is achieved is determined by what specific programs are implemented. HBR determined that disease management created the greatest return on investment, but that general lifestyle wellness contributed significantly even if those measurements are a bit more difficult to track.
So how do these wellness programs provide the kind of ROI your C-suite leaders want? The results are best looked at from the perspective of three different buckets:
1. Assistance to At-Risk Employees – These individuals are those who smoke, are overweight, experience blood pressure issues, diabetes and mental-health related conditions like depression. Consider this: four of the 10 most costly health conditions for US employers — angina pectoris (chest pain), high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attack — are related to heart disease and stroke. All of which are preventable.
For this group, offering resources to help identify these risks — as well as programs that help combat them — provides a clear cause and effect result for companies to track and see direct savings. The goal with these employees is to create the resources and support necessary to prevent them from becoming chronically ill and to help restore greater overall health. “According to the CDC, chronic diseases account for 75 percent of total healthcare costs. They are also the most preventable type of disease. Such illnesses include heart disease, stroke, cancer and obesity. The only way to prevent disease is with actionable steps to halt progression.” As they become healthier, healthcare assistance dramatically decreases and so do the claims.
2. Effective Management of the Chronically Ill – In other cases, you’ll have employees who are already dealing with chronic illnesses, where no amount of broccoli or spin classes will eliminate the condition. However, disease management programs and resources can assist in providing the right care for individuals. “For example, a program that preempts 25 unnecessary emergency department visits can easily save $50,000, while preventing four inpatient stays can save at least $100,000. Savings like these are not unrealistic for a 2,000-employee company.”
3. Options for General Wellness – As has been discussed, the impact of healthy employees who engage in activities meant to keep them emotionally, physically and intellectually strong is significant. Considering work-related stress is the leading workplace health problem and a major occupational health risk, ranking above physical inactivity and obesity, it’s paramount that organizations take the health of their employees seriously. Offering the ability to exercise, access to mental health resources and providing opportunities to grow, give back and belong will provide returns beyond the financials. It really is true, the healthier your employees are, the healthier your company and bottom line will be.
Achieve the kind of wellness program that not only provides maximum return to your company but improves the lives of those who commit each day working for you. Browse about the flexible options ClassPass Corporate provides, giving your employees the freedom to choose.