There’s been raging debate in the wellness industry about the efficacy of ‘wellness programs.’ The problem is, it’s very hard to measure this on a large scale. This is because, the fact of the matter is, very few companies offer wellness rewards currently.

The problem intensified recently when the Illinois Workplace Wellness Study came out. The fundamental assumption of the study was that measuring workplace wellness needs to be based on the financial ROI (or return on investment) that the corporation sees in the aftermath.

This is a flawed assumption because the biggest benefit of wellness programs is employee retention and happiness. The study could not measure these factors because it firstly, did not want to, and secondly, because these are long-term variables.

So how do you really assess if your wellness program and its rewards are effective? Here are a few ways:

Listen to What Your Employees Are Saying

SAP, one of the biggest business software companies in the world—they have more than 90,000 employees!—has more than 50% of its workforce signed up to wellness programs. The program includes everything from health fairs, screening people with biometrics, coaching and illness management programs, among many other things.

Not only did they find that their employees were healthier, they found that working moms were a lot happier! Due to a program where SAP ships baby milk to babies when mothers are away on business, they were much more likely to be able to go on trips like this.

They also found that employees really appreciated how much the company was doing for them, meaning that they were much happier at work. These are not always metrics that can be quantified immediately, but over time, they yield the benefit of workers who are much more likely to stick around and put more care into their work.

Take A Much More Holistic Look At Costs

Employees who have been enrolled in wellness programs for many years are much less likely to need days off. Furthermore, while companies may think that insurance claims are not going down, in the long-term, the larger wellness of your employees is greatly beneficial to the organization’s productivity and thus, profits.

If a company, for example, has cash wellness rewards that encourage a person not to smoke tobacco, this will have a great impact on their health in the next 8 – 10 years, if not immediately. While in the short-term, companies will think the money spent was not worth it, if an employee stays for a long time, it is more than worth it.

Smarter Rewards Are More Effective

A lot of organizations have found that while cash rewards work well, smarter rewards are much more appreciated and are more likely to make your employees want to stay.

Some organizations adjust medical rates based on how people are performing on the wellness program, making them understand that the rates they are getting at this organization aren’t likely to be replicated at others. Especially because wellness programs are so rare, this is a great way to really maintain a workforce for a long period of time.

At JS Benefits Group, we have some of the most trusted employee benefits consultants around. If you want to get your employees started on a wellness program, contact us today to explore your options