Employee wellness programs have often been viewed as a nice extra, not as a strategic imperative. But new research data demonstrate otherwise, according to a team led by Leonard L. Berry of Texas A&M University, Ann M. Mirabito of Baylor University, and William B. Baun of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Their findings suggest that the return on investment on comprehensive, well-run employee wellness programs is impressive-sometimes as high as six to one. The results are compiled in an article in the December issue of Harvard Business Review titled “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?”
The team found that to achieve solid results, employers cannot merely offer workers a few passes to the fitness center and nutrition information in the cafeteria. The most successful wellness programs are supported by six pillars: engaged leadership at multiple levels; strategic alignment with the company’s identity and aspirations; high relevance and quality; broad accessibility; internal and external partnerships; and effective communications.