The do’s and don’ts of workplace wellbeing

Corporate wellness programs have already become an important aspect of the employee engagement and wellbeing mix, but the value these initiatives bring to organizations has come under increased doubt and scrutiny over the years.

A 2018 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research states that there are no significant changes to healthcare costs and measured behaviors. The study claimed to find zero benefits from a corporate wellness program after its first year of implementation, and that it can only make for good recruitment tools.

However, a large majority (87 percent) of employers are committed to workplace wellness, and 73 percent offer a wellness program to their employees.

Many studies have evaluated the ability of these initiatives to improve healthy behaviors, but not every program is able to show positive results.

Besides design, implementation, and sustainment strategies, what lies in the heart of inconsistent results is how we define and ultimately measure success in your corporate wellness program.

So how do you evaluate the value of your wellness program?

It is important to remember that not all benefits for an employee wellness program are recorded in quantifiable results. ROI (Return on Investment) is more commonly considered in evaluating the success of a wellness program, but many forget to think about VOI (Value on Investment). The truth is, wellbeing is a complex conversation, and the definition of ROI is narrowly focused on and limited to medical claims cost savings as contrasted with an investment in wellness programs.

Reduced health care costs Reduced health risks
Lowered absenteeism Improved satisfaction, productivity, and morale
Reduced disability claims Improved business performance and profitability

VOI metrics are less concrete than ROI metrics but are often important variables to the employer’s measurement of success.

More companies begin to realize that increasing their employee engagement and morale will do wonders for their bottom line results.

Focus on the health improvement, rather than looking solely at the medical cost. When you get employees making healthier decisions, it goes hand in hand with improving their participation and productivity at work.

Happiness and wellbeing, though nebulous, are metrics needed for measuring too. The most straightforward way is to simply ask your employees. How do they feel both overall and about specific aspects of their work life? Surveys and general assemblies are a great way to gather vital, honest feedback that will help you measure the effectivity of your wellness plan.

Track their habits. Basic metrics like the number of participants and the amount of activity employees engage in are indicative of engagement. Employees who are happier and healthier are more engaged. If they are not physically, emotionally, and mentally well when coming in to work, they will lack the focus and energy to be their best selves.

The bottom line when it comes to ROI versus VOI, is that you can’t have one without the other. Happy, healthy employees who care about their health will utilize their benefits to stay healthy through annual checkups and screenings, thus saving the company on large medical claims. Shaking off the standard mindset and embracing this approach will not only address health risks but also improve your corporate culture and cultivate a health-promoting mindset among the workforce.

Sustainment Strategies

How do you keep everyone continuously engaged? Like all wellbeing programs, you will need to constantly maintain participation while measuring the results. Below are common practices that companies with successful programs.

The Do’s:

Get the buy-in of your executives and leaders

Practice what you preach. It goes without saying, that when leadership promotes participation and employees see them involved in these initiatives, they too will follow suit. Your program’s success and sustainability rely heavily on their support.

Foster healthy competition with points, rewards, and recognition

Rewards are an important component in corporate wellness and employee satisfaction. At the end of the day, every person wants to be recognized and appreciated for doing something good and rewarding top performers will lead to a program full of invested participants.  It’s a great way to reinforce positive behavior and make employees enjoy being part of your wellness program.

Pay more attention to VOI

Again, we go back to Value on Investment. These type of corporate wellness programs are rounded and best evaluated through VOI because it accounts for your employee’s overall wellbeing, not just physical health.

Culture is everything

If you promote a healthy lifestyle but order pizza or donuts during a team meeting, it sends mixed messages to everyone in the company. Cultivate a health-promoting culture by making adjustments in the workplace. Offer healthier drinks instead of stocking up the fridge with soda and caffeinated beverages. Hold stand-up meetings. Do a no-elevator challenge. It will make people understand that the entire company is invested.

Communicate and offer health resources

Communication is key. Using collaboration tools for business to drive your engagement programs and wellbeing initiatives is another way to raise awareness and drive participation.  LiveWell helps you organize wellness events and challenges supported by a wellness platform that is filled with preloaded content and learning resources on health, fitness, and holistic wellbeing. Employees can even sync their pedometer devices and record their steps along with their water and caloric intake, and other activities. A social feed also lets the employees engage with each other, even coming from different teams. Participation is rewarded with points, and users can access the auction portal where they can use these points to buy and bid on prizes.


If you want your corporate wellbeing program to achieve success, think long term. Adopt sustainable practices and will keep your employees engaged and healthier at work and in all aspects of their life and for years to come.