ROI + Wellness: Time to Stop Obsessing

Written by on May 13, 2013 in Wellness - No comments

We were recently featured as a guest blogger for EBN’s Employee Benefit Views, offering the following perspective. It’s time to stop obsessing over wellness ROI. Here’s an excerpt from the article, with a link to the full text:

Stop Obsessing Over Wellness ROI

Within the span of a few short weeks, I read one study touting a 7-to-1 return on investment for wellness programs, followed by a second report stating wellness has little financial ROI, if any. I also came across multiple articles citing the popular Harvard study, which concluded that wellness produces a 3.27 to 1 ROI, and blog posts refuting the validity of the same Harvard study, questioning its ability to offer decisive evidence that wellness programs generate financial returns.

My reaction to these dueling headlines is simple. As an industry, we should step away from the calculators, stop torturing the numbers and gain a bit of perspective. There is no return on obsessing over the ROI of wellness programs.

The only thing these headlines confirm is that ROI is hard to measure. There are lots of variables and variability among programs. Intangibles that are difficult to quantify. Value that is hard to fully claim without regard to the rest of the health care equation. Not to mention accounting for things that would have happened but didn’t because of wellness interventions.

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