Company Wellness Programs: Beyond ROI
Monday, August 6, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Gary Hotze, Digital Marketing Manager, ITA
In the fast-paced world of tech, often-times new implementations and actions are focused on ROI. When you’re surviving in the competitive environment of series A, B and C financing, money is the topic du jour. Within this headspace, programs that don’t bring home the bacon can get lost in the shuffle. So, often, initiatives such as wellness fall by the wayside because their effectiveness is not so easily quantifiable on a spreadsheet.
Wellness, however, isn’t just about dollars and cents; it’s about value. Jill Micklow, Wellness Manager at Assurance, knows this better than anyone. Assurance has had a wellness program for over fourteen years. “Wellness isn’t only about the hard dollar savings, so the notion of looking solely for an ROI in a wellness program is a short sighted approach,” Micklow says. “Instead, we speak more broadly about wellness in what’s been the value on your investment.” However, if we’re not talking cost-savings then what kind of benefits does a wellness program bring?
“If you want to talk pure numbers, years ago, Assurance was experiencing the typical 10-15% annualized increases in medical insurance renewal rates before implementing wellness and focusing on consumerism,” she says. “We now average 3.5% cost increases after introducing a Health Savings Account, educating our employees to be savvy healthcare consumers and improving employee health and productivity through a holistic company-wide wellness initiative.” The real value isn’t in the numbers, however. Assurance now routinely ranks at the top of the list for Chicago’s best places to work lists. The program is a humongous cultural initiative that helps them recruit top talent, retain top talent and a true showcase of the perks of working at Assurance. “Our program has kept people in the door and brought referrals to the table,” Micklow says. “And our initiatives around health and well-being are consistently cited reasons.”
Assurance’s success fourteen years deep is undoubtedly a model to envy and emulate but where does a company start on the path to a successful and impactful wellness program? Assurance maintains its mix of biometric screenings, dieticians, wellness challenges, cooking demos and health programs; these designs are all within the wheelhouse of what they try to strategize with employers. “There isn’t one specific starting point when thinking about engaging in wellness,” she says. “When you work with any employer group you have to take their unique population, industry, challenges, roadblocks, successes, goals and objectives into consideration. Wellness is a very personal journey so the design of a program will look very different from one organization to another.” That’s a mouthful which can be a daunting thought to employers and decision-makers who are looking to expand their holistic drives or dip their toes into the wellness pool.
Don’t be afraid to dive-in, however. An upcoming panel from ITA will help you float new strategies that can make the launch of your company’s brand-new wellness program a breeze or keep its ongoing course nothing but smooth sailing even if “there isn't a one-size fits all template,” Micklow concludes.
That’s the beauty of doing a panel discussion, though, you can get real, varied and unique examples of wellness. Attendees will be able to hear from panelists about definitive programs, activities and incentives that they offer. The panelists will range from beginners to wellness veterans. This differentiation will allow for actionable takeaways for a range of programmatic wellness experience and provide insight into all of the definitions of holistic success across the Chicago tech community. Moreover, just as there are different definitions of wellness achievement, there’s not one foundational way to establish a wellness program, but there may be a healthy place to start.
ITA’s Building a Wellness Program for the Health of Your Organization is Tuesday, August 14, 8:30 – 11:00 AM at TechNexus.