Positive Return on Investment (ROI)
Workplace Health & Wellbeing Programs

MAXIMISE ROI Explanation

Positive ROI. The positive return on investment (ROI) for 'effective' Workplace Health & Wellbeing Programs is established. ASK YES for background research (PwC studies/Comcare/EAPs). Here is the return for each $1 spent:

  • $2.3 to $10.1 for Health & Wellbeing Programs
  • $2.3 for Mental Health promotion and programs
  • $1.3 - $4.7 for selected mental health interventions at work
  • $5-10 for Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
Positive Outcomes. The Business Case (drivers). Healthy workers are more productive workers.

Reducing Costs
  • Absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Lost productivity
  • Turnover
  • Physical injury claims
  • Psychological injury claims
Improving Performance
  • Improved health & wellbeing of employees
  • Better performance & capability
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Staff retention and morale
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Reputation, Employer of Choice
Effectiveness for ROI. However there are a number of challenges to meet and good processes to follow, that enable an effective program that provides and maximises your ROI.

Implementation challenges may include:
  • Time, budget and support
  • Leadership engagement (& active participation)
  • Building the business case
  • The right program - tailored
  • Managing resistance and cultural change
  • Employee engagement, participation rates and follow through
  • Maintaining momentum and consistency
  • Measurement and evaluation
Maximising ROI – Tips from YES
MAXIMISE ROI Explanation
A 'process approach' to design:
  • Use a robust "process approach" to design, deliver, review and improve your program
Roundtables – time to talk:
    • Bring people and providers together to talk about the programs (regularly)
Start where they are at, and tailor the program:
  • Collaboration: Ask, survey, assess; champions and working parties
  • Careful use of language and messaging
Increase engagement/access to quality programs:
  • Ensure quality programs and providers
  • Make it easy – accessible, understandable, WIFM
  • Groups, buddies and teams – shared activities/sense of belonging
Support leaders to participate and role-model:
  • Educate and support leaders to have those 'conversations'
  • Invite Exec level participation and visibility
Umbrella branding, strategy and Programs:
  • Connect the dots under 1 program title (create an identity and brand)
  • Maintain momentum, visibility and updates across time
  • Share success stories and publish data
Tips, tools and models:
  • Create conversation tools to help leaders and staff talk about wellbeing
  • Provide scripts, tips and guides to help build confidence in leaders
Places to start
  • Hold some roundtable discussions to gather interest and ideas
  • Take a business case to leadership teams
  • Offer a simple solution to commence
  • Provide information and education
  • Group events and toolbox sessions
  • Engage naturally positive wellbeing champions
  • Newsletters, tips and tools
  • A calendar of events
  • Partnership with professional health providers
  • Advice from colleagues and consultants
Some mechanisms of success
  • Change in health-related behaviours
  • Prevention – awareness, collective mindfulness
  • Early intervention and treatment
  • (perception of) Support from leaders
  • Change in culture and communication
A word on Engagement & Culture
  • Despite 'engagement' being a significant topic, it remains a challenge for many organisations
  • It takes time, good conversations, supportive leadership behaviours and consistent follow through to build trust and positive culture
  • A well planned wellbeing program, with employee contribution, is an opportunity to WARM UP and CONNECT people to leaders & culture.

Key points of Research

In 2005, a study1 comparing a healthy worker to an unhealthy worker found:
  • healthy workers to be 3x more productive (49 effective hours worked per month for an unhealthy worker compared to 143 hours for a healthy worker)
  • healthy workers had 9x less annual sick leave (2 days annual sick leave for a healthy worker compared to 18 days for an unhealthy worker).
In 2008, research2 on the impact of workplace stress indicated:
  • workplace stress is responsible for a loss of 3.2 working days per employee per year
  • workplace stress-related presenteeism costs almost 2x the cost of workplace stress-related absenteeism
  • stress-related absenteeism and presenteeism costs Australian employers a total of $10.11 billion annually.
In 2011, a report3 concluded that presenteeism:
  • causes an average of 6.5 days of productivity loss per employee per year
  • has an estimated annual cost of $34.1 billion to the Australian economy (2009-2010).
1 Medibank Private 2005, The health of Australia?s workforce, Medibank Private, Australia.
2 Medibank Private 2008, The cost of workplace stress in Australia, Medibank Private, Australia.
3 Medibank Private 2011, Sick at work: The cost of presenteeism to your business and the economy, Medibank Private, Australia.

In 2018, KPMG and Mental Health Australia published ROI research regarding selected, evidence-based mental health interventions fo the workplace.