Winning at Workplace Wellness: Why Quality of Life Matters... and ROI Doesn't with Dean Witherspoon


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Winning at Workplace Wellness: Why Quality of Life Matters... and ROI Doesn't with Dean Witherspoon

  1. 1. Winning at Workplace Wellness: Why Quality of Life Matters… and ROI Doesn’t Dean Witherspoon, President & Founder
  2. 2. Wellness Campaigns Challenging goals  Fun themes  Social connections TM TM TM TM TM TM TM
  3. 3. Health Promotion Practitioner
  4. 4. Threats to the Wellness Industry • Paying People to Get Healthy/Punishing People for Not Getting Healthy • Obsessing With Return On Investment • Suggesting Little Changes are Easy and Add Up to Big Results
  5. 5. White Papers 2012 2013 2014 Little Changes are NOT Easy and They DON’T Add Up to Big Changes
  6. 6. Webinar Goals • Why targeting quality of life improvement is a smarter, more sustainable approach to workplace wellness • How to drive engagement by shifting your wellness focus from numbers to people
  7. 7. Webinar Poll To achieve a positive ROI for your program, how much should you invest in wellness activities and incentives combined on an annual basis? a. $100 b. $500 c. $1000 d. $1500
  8. 8. The Wellness ROI Obsession
  9. 9. Why ROI Focus Is a Bad Idea • Nearly impossible to “prove” • Management doesn’t believe it anyway • People care about what they care about
  10. 10. Startup Wellness Vendor Pitching VP of HR “What we lack in experience we make up for with wildly unrealistic ROI projections.”
  11. 11. What’s the ROI for… • Health insurance? • 3 weeks vacation vs 6? • Pensions? • Casual days? • Contraception benefits? • Sports team sponsorship? • Family leave? • Adoption assistance? • Retiree medical?
  12. 12. Quality of Life (QOL) A holistic measure of overall well-being — accounting for factors like financial stability, job satisfaction, living arrangements, and social/physical/emotional health. * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HRQOL Concepts, Health-Related Quality of Life, 2011, *
  13. 13. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) A subjective measure of well-being focused on factors that affect physical and mental health — socioeconomic status, ability to perform activities of daily living, level of social support, and health risks and conditions. * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HRQOL Concepts, Health-Related Quality of Life, 2011, *
  14. 14. Why QOL Focus Is a Good Idea • It’s what employees care about • It’s what management cares about • When QOL is achieved, ROI follows
  15. 15. Annual Benefit Review “It says here that you were our top salesperson the last 7 years. Unfortunately, your BMI is 31, so you’re going to have to pay more for health insurance. ”
  16. 16. Quality of Life Matters to Employees • Physical health • Financial health • Healthy relationships • Meaningful work • Stamina to pursue interests outside of work
  17. 17. Webinar Poll Which of the following are benefits of enhanced QOL at work? a. Better engagement b. Lower healthcare costs c. Decreased absenteeism d. Greater retention e. All of the above
  18. 18. QOL Matters to Management • Employee engagement • Retention of top talent • Enhanced productivity
  19. 19. When QOL Is Achieved, ROI Follows Improved well-being over this 1-year study was linked to lower healthcare costs, fewer unscheduled absences and presenteeism problems, and stronger plans to stay with the employer. * Sears L, Shi Y, Coberley C, Pope J, Overall Well-being as a Predictor of Health Care, Productivity, and Retention Outcomes in a Large Employer, Population Health Management, Vol 00, No 00, 2013, DOI: 10.1089/pop.2012.0114 *
  20. 20. When QOL Is Achieved, ROI Follows (cont.) People with low well-being scores had 2.7 times the median annual medical expenses of those reporting high well-being; for every 1-point increase, they were 1.0% less likely to incur any healthcare expenses, 2.2% less likely to have a hospital admission, and 1.7% less likely to visit the ER. * Harrison P, Pope J, Coberley C, Rula E, Evaluation of the Relationship Between Individual Well-Being and Future Health Care Utilization and Cost, Population Health Management, Vol 15, No 6, 2012, DOI: 10.1089/pop.2011.0089 *
  21. 21. When QOL Is Achieved, ROI Follows (cont.) A study of 19,000 workers associated improvement in a broad range of well-being risks with a significant boost in productivity measures over 12 months, equivalent to saving $468/person/year. * Shi Y, Sears L, Coberley C, Pope J, The Association Between Modifiable Well-Being Risks and Productivity: A Longitudinal Study in Pooled Employer Sample, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol 55 (4), April 2013 pp. 353-364 *
  22. 22. When QOL Is Achieved, ROI Follows (cont.) Companies that build a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce yield greater value for their investors. * The Link Between Workforce Health and Safety and the Health of the Bottom Line: Tracking Market Performance of Companies That Nurture a “Culture of Health”, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, September 2013, Volume 55, Issue 9, pp. 993-1000 *
  23. 23. When QOL Isn’t Achieved… * “I think I’m suffering from Presenteeism – lately my mind has just been elsewhere.”
  24. 24. QOL Programming Is Really About… Doing the Right Thing
  25. 25. QOL Programming Is Really About… Doing the Right Thing
  26. 26. QOL Programming Is Really About… Doing the Right Thing (cont.)
  27. 27. QOL Programming Is Really About… Doing the Right Thing (cont.)
  28. 28. Shift Your Wellness Focus Risk/Cost (ROI) People
  29. 29. From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL • Spearhead a QOL Team — benefits, HR, recruiting, ergonomics, disability, vendors, community organizations
  30. 30. • Use a QOL assessment such as CDC Healthy Days Measures or Healthways Well-Being Index From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL (cont.)
  31. 31. • Evaluate scope of QOL services, identify opportunities, and fill gaps From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL (cont.)
  32. 32. From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL (cont.) • Cultivate community and peer support — do good for you by doing good for others
  33. 33. From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL (cont.) • Create opportunities for personal and professional growth – continuing education, mentorships, tuition reimbursement, in-service training
  34. 34. From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL (cont.) • Manage management expectations and solicit specific support
  35. 35. From Risk/Cost (ROI) to QOL (cont.) • Implement an integrated communications plan (wellness, EAP, nurse line, health coaches); aim for consistency
  36. 36. Consistent QOL Messaging (cont.) A QOL approach inspires employees to connect the dots — envisioning how their lives can be better. Instead of outlining the negative consequences of not changing behaviors, this approach paints a vivid picture of how healthful behaviors can enhance enjoyment of everyday life — empowering workers to move forward with encouragement and hope instead of staying stuck in a cycle of shame and fear.
  37. 37. Consistent QOL Messaging • Omit warnings, guilt trips, and far-off risks/rewards “Sitting too much increases your diabetes risk.” “High blood pressure raises your risk of stroke.” “Eating too much meat can cause cancer.” “Exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week can extend your life.”
  38. 38. • Use positive, here-and-now language Consistent QOL Messaging (cont.) “Energize your day and boost your mood for up to 12 hours with a single workout like running, brisk walking, or group cycling class.” “Feeling tense? Take a brisk walk around the building; a vigorous 10-minute walk can make you feel a whole lot better.” “Mid-morning munchies got you down? Trade pancakes or cereal for eggs plus veggies to keep up your energy and beat back hunger.” “Mood-boosting tip: Load up your plate with colorful fruits and veggies every chance you get.”
  39. 39. Success Motivates • Solicit tales of trials and triumph on social networks • Invite coworkers to nominate colleagues for recognition based on QOL achievements • Publish success stories across multiple communication media
  40. 40. They Said It… “Ola Ala has challenged me in so many ways — mentally, emotionally, and physically. It really feels good to take the time out of your day to just enjoy what you like doing and keep a positive attitude and an active lifestyle. It’s good for your mind, body, and soul.” Crystal Jackson, Participant
  41. 41. If You Can Only Do 1 Thing… Walk this way…
  42. 42. If You Can Only Do 1 Thing… FREE Walking Resources • Start Walking Now (American Heart Association) • Mobile Apps • “Walking Toolkit” • Every Body Walk ( • MapWalk Coordinator Toolkit
  43. 43. Why Wellness Really Matters A well conceived, expertly executed wellness program adds to the quality of work life; it’s another reason employees love to come to work. It’s a key element in a culture that values people for their contribution within a community working toward the same business objectives, while recognizing that those workers are more than the sum of their salaries and healthcare expenses. And when the organization’s emphasis is on what employees value, they are more motivated to pursue better health, which enhances the likelihood of a positive ROI.
  44. 44. For more information… Dean Witherspoon 800.326.2317