How to calculate wellness programs ROI: 5 key metrics

Studies show that employees express feelings of exhaustion at an alarming degree of 44%, where nearly 25% are emotionally drained, and 23% to 30% are frequently annoyed, anxious and overly stressed on a weekly basis. Leading organisations are keen to respond to this, and are beginning to find solutions.

A quality wellness program must evolve continuously, be tuned to the needs of the employees, and deliver a return on investment. But how do we begin tracking this return, or ROI?

Below, we discuss some ways of beginning to measure ROI for your program.



An initial, and perhaps one of the more obvious ways of collecting data, is to conduct surveys before the onset of the program to give yourself a baseline assessment. This may involve collecting what it is that staff want, as well as current trends. This will not only give you the data you need to run comparisons later, but may also help you demonstrate to senior leaders what it is you are trying to achieve.

An evaluation after the program will in turn give an overview of areas to improve, and running an anonymous employee survey could provide benchmarks to get a good feel of the program’s efficacy. Be careful here that you capture opinions as well as general HR trends by looking at the difference between HR analytics and People analytics.



Participation rates of program 

The rate of employee participation is an important metric to consider using. A high participation rate for your program is a key indicator of success, is a very simple metric to collect, and one that can be easily demonstrated to senior leadership. You should attempt to increase this figure over time, and upon delivering a successful program, you would expect this to increase through word of mouth.


Cost and Time of program 

Cost is important in the creation and design of your wellness program. It may very well hinder the progress of the program if it is deemed to be too expensive to run. In line with this, an organisation will also be interested in a program that does not take up too much time of it’s employees. Therefore, you may want to consider measuring various interventions and activities for time and cost, so this can be presented to senior leadership. Of course, you may want to compare this with other items such as participation rates, as it is no use having a low cost & time if nobody attends!.



Absenteeism of Staff on the Wellness Program 

Absenteeism is simply the amount of time an employee is absent from work. A comprehensive wellness program shouldreduce the rate of absence, and so monitoring the rate of people on the program is an important indicator of success. Of course, this could be difficult as you run into issues with keeping staff data anonymous. In addition, the ability to compare this with staff not on the program could be difficult as this will be different in every organisation; but where possible, this can be a great indicator of progress.


Productivity of Staff on Program 

If you overlook the importance of wellbeing programmes in your organisation, the likelihood is that the productivity of your employees will decrease. When employees experience a sense of burnout they are most likely to turn in low quality work that will ultimately incur a drop in productivity. IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans) research confirmed that organisations with quality wellness programs have a 66% increase in rate of productivity as well as a 63% increase in growth and financial sustainability. This can be quite a difficult statistic to get hold of for your own organisation, but if possible, this can be an invaluable statistic. If you would like more info on how to get hold of this data, then try a Lumien Free Trial.



Combining some of the data sets above, potentially with those unique to your own organisation could help with the long term success of a wellbeing program. If you would like to start investigating ways of calculating ROI, then you can download our free mental health and wellness ROI calculator here.