We live in a data-driven world. So much so that almost everything around us must be backed up by enough data, to prove effectiveness. In the business world, data is incredibly critical and is the best way to measure if a certain investment is yielding profit or if it must be reconsidered or improved.

In the field of mental health & wellbeing, data plays the same important role in measuring the effectiveness of mental health & wellbeing programs to a company, and this data is what we call the ROI or return on investment.


Wellness ROI Defined

ROI or return on investment is a business term used to describe the return that a business gets for every investment made. This is applicable in every aspect of the business. ROI is the basic metric for a business to know where they are getting profit from and where they are getting a deficit.

The very basic way of calculating an ROI is through the equation INVESTMENT – EXPENSES = PROFIT. But of course, it’s more complicated than that. There are a lot of other factors that appear when it comes to calculating the ROI in businesses.

ROI is a widely used method to determine the effectiveness of an investment made. And it is the basis for a program to continue, be improved or be removed altogether. That is why this is also extremely useful when it comes to using it in your mental health & wellbeing program.


Importance of Calculating Wellness ROI for Your Wellness Program

Your business probably follows the same principle as other businesses in the world. Realistically, unless you’re a not for profit organisation, your business will have to be in some way focused on making profits. It’s the income and the profit of your business that makes it go around, so to say. You are paying your employees and giving service to people through the revenues and profit that you are making.

Now that we’ve established that point, it is only right for you to make sure that everything is going well in your business. You would want to make sure that every investment, all money spent, time and energy that you’ve invested in every aspect of the business is yielding results and profit. Thus, you will have to create a system where you can track your investments and see their results at the end of the day, week, month or year.

This is the importance of calculating your return on investment in your mental health & wellbeing program. Let’s say, for a mental health & wellbeing program to be considered as successful, you must look at the numbers of the elements involved in your mental health & wellbeing programs such as absenteeism rate, presenteeism rate (productivity at work), reasons for absence, amongst a large set of other HR analytical data (if you would like to read more about HR analytics, and what can be tracked, you can read more on our blog – What is ‘HR Analytics’?. Doing so will allow you to get more numeric information and calculate which aspects of the program are working and which are not.

Let’s further look at the benefits of calculating the ROI of your mental health & wellbeing program.


Benefits of Calculating the ROI of Your Mental health & wellbeing Program

So, what are the benefits when you purposely look at the ROI for your mental health & wellbeing program? Here are some of the good things that it may bring to you and your company.

  1. You’ll Know What’s Working and What’s Not

Are you okay with spending your time and money on something that is not working at all? If not, then you need to start measuring ROI now. Calculating your ROI will give you the avenue to see where your investments are going and whether they are yielding profits or not. There are no other areas of business in which you would consider doing this, and this is important in mental health & wellbeing programmes to.

So, what do you do if it’s not delivering good results? Then, you have two options; a) improve the program where it is falling short, b) remove and delete that part of the program for good.

Calculating your ROI will give you a way to improve your program for the better since you already know what yields better results and what’s not working at all.

  1. Add quality to your mental wellness program

When these mental health & wellbeing programs are created, aside from getting profit, we also have the wellbeing of our employees in mind. Therefore, one of the things that we look at is if the workplace wellness program is really delivering the benefits we expected to the employees.

This is something that can be determined when you calculate the ROI of your mental health & wellbeing program. By looking at the numbers, you will be able to analyse and determine if your mental health & wellbeing program is working for your employees’ benefits and providing the employee health benefits you need.

One of the factors that you must consider is how many employees are taking advantage of the mental health & wellbeing program. This will show you whether what you’re paying for is beneficial.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re paying for 100 employees but only 20 of them are taking advantage of the program. Is it worth it or do you need to start considering another workplace wellness program?

Through this evaluation, you can add quality to your mental health & wellbeing programmes and even increase your employees’ satisfaction, and in turn, all the additional benefits that can be derived from this.

  1. Give you essential data you can use for the next year

Tracking your ROI also gives you leverage when it comes to yearly evaluation of employees and the workforce overall. When you are tracking your ROI, you will be able to get useful HR information, such as the time of the year most employees showed signs of reduced productivity, which can help with business continuity and planning.

You can also determine the issues which are most prevalent with your employees (e.g. stress, anxiety, etc.), making it possible for you to craft a better and more effective mental health & wellbeing program.

  1. Have more detailed conversations with external providers

If you contract in an external mental health & wellbeing provide, how do you communicate with them effectively around what you want to see and what results you would like? Tracking ROI allows you to achieve this, and provides you with discussion points in meetings which can result in continuous improvement.


Alternatives to ROI

Recently, there has been an alternative to ROI used, namely VOI or Value on Investment. VOI looks at longer term benefits such as the positive influence running a program can have on your employees overall opinion of the company. If you would like to read more about this, you can do so on our blog – Wellness Measures: ROI or VOI?



No matter how you use the data that you will be getting while calculating the ROI of your workplace wellness program, the bottom line is that it’s useful for you and the company.

If you are not tracking your mental health & wellbeing programmes ROI, then you are potentially missing a massive opportunity and may even be spending in the wrong areas. In short, you can’t execute a strategy in the area.

Hence, it is important that you calculate the ROI of you mental health & wellbeing programmes and utilise the benefits this will bring.