Report explores the impact of workplace wellness programs; alongside expert insights into how to deliver effective initiatives and measure return on investment (ROI)
HONG KONG, Nov. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Cigna (NYSE:CI) International Markets and Asia Care Group, a leading international research consultancy, today published a new report titled, Health and Wellness in Workplaces: What Works? - ROI analysis of Health and Wellness Interventions, to provide insight into the impact of employee wellness programs.
The report, a summary of which is available to download by clicking here, is the largest systemic global review into the impact of workplace wellness interventions and reveals that:
- When properly designed and implemented, most wellness programs yield positive returns by reducing healthcare costs, absenteeism, and delivering productivity gains
- Mental health interventions yield the most significant ROI compared to other types of lifestyle management initiatives
- Wellness programs with low investment levels often achieve excellent ROI if they are well designed
- Strong support from middle managers is crucial to success, particularly in programs related to mental health
Focused programs deliver the greatest impact
The report reveals that the most successful wellness programs are those that have been carefully selected to tackle specific loss-drivers. For example, implementing case management to drive reductions in absenteeism, disease management to reduce healthcare claims costs, and lifestyle programs to tackle physical health. As an important first step, employers should review employee data that has been collected from health screenings or self-reported health assessments, to identify the specific underlying drivers of ill-health or poor well-being prior to designing a wellness program.
Mental health interventions yield the most significant ROI
The report identified that mental health interventions yielded high returns, with the most effective program achieving a sixty-fold return on the initial investment. Mental health-related programs include stress management coaching for employees, providing work-life balance training sessions, and meditation classes.
Specifically, stress management interventions, such as counseling sessions with clinical professionals, and well-being support, such as online coaching, yielded high returns compared to the other interventions.
Jason Sadler, President, Cigna International Markets said: "The concept of workplace wellness has risen up the corporate agenda and employers recognize that investment in effective programs helps employees to be healthier and more productive. Our report shows that mental health initiatives yielded up to a sixty-fold return on investment, yet our latest COVID-19 Global Impact Study showed that only 26% of people said their employers currently offer such support. With 53% of people now saying they want more well-being support; this report is a valuable tool to help employers and HR professionals to design such programs."
Middle managers play a vital role
Programs with middle management support averaged an ROI of 10x the initial investment. This is due to these individuals having the highest level of direct team management within most organizations. Therefore, to help instil health and wellness across an organization, middle management should be central to program design and implementation.
Dr. Dawn Soo, Regional Medical Officer & Head of Wellness, Asia Pacific, Cigna said: "Companies should identify wellness champions from middle management that possess the passion and influence to motivate employees. These people will help ensure the success of wellness efforts by socially connecting with employees and helping to educate colleagues about the programs on offer and their benefits."
Wellness programs are successful, even with limited investment
The study highlights that a comprehensive wellness program can be developed with a low level of investment and still yield high returns when they are well designed and supported. Out of the 90 wellness programs that reported investment levels, low investment programs (<US$100/person/year) reported ROI of 13.2x, compared to 3.2x for moderate investments (US$100-200/person/year), and 3.0x for high investments (>US$200/person/year).
In addition to monetary incentives, the report also highlights several factors that have been shown to influence, and reduce, the level of required investment, including the infrastructure, capability and internal resources.
Sadler concluded, "Wellness programs which are grounded in a solid understanding of how well-being issues manifest in a workplace can generate impressive returns. The pandemic has shifted the way we work and employee programs must adapt to employees' changing needs. It is therefore critical that employers develop robust frameworks to ensure that all well-being interventions deliver the desired impact."
Health and Wellness in Workplaces: What Works? report methodology:
Cigna commissioned the "Health and Wellness in Workplaces: What Works? - ROI Analysis of Health & Wellness Interventions" report, in partnership with Asia Care, a leading research consultancy. An evidence-based approach was taken to provide a broad and systematic literature review that assesses the economic impact of workplace wellness interventions on a global scale. The report included data sourced from peer-reviewed academic journals (86 studies), from non-academic sources such as government reports and non-peer-reviewed journals (19 reports), and studies of wellness programs conducted after 1995. While the findings of the study focus on in-office/workplace settings and were pre-pandemic, the study remains highly relevant for employers today as it provides wellness solutions that can address employees' health and well-being concerns.
The report summary is available to download at: https://www.cignainternational.com/static/docs/pdfs/en/Health-and-Wellness-in-Workplaces_What-Works_Executive-Summary-Report-by-Cigna-International-Markets.pdf
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