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NEW ORLEANS—"Certain components of a wellness program are critical to its success, and others are more fluff," said Don R. Powell, president and CEO of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine in Farmington Hills, Mich., during his June 29, 2009 concurrent session, “The 10 Essential Characteristics of Successful Worksite Wellness Programs,” held here in conjunction with the SHRM Annual Conference.
Powell provided a framework to help HR benefits managers keep their wellness initiatives targeted on the components most closely linked to return on investment (ROI).
He shared some statistics that highlight the value of these initiatives. While the ROI from wellness programs varies, a review of 72 studies published in the
American Journal of Health Promotion indicated an average corporate wellness ROI of $3.48 per $1 when considering health care costs alone, $5.82 when examining absenteeism and $4.30 when both outcomes are considered.
In light of the growing shift in focus from treatment to prevention, Powell urged HR professionals not to view the health of their employees as a “cost” that needs to be “controlled” but as an investment in human capital, “just like the ‘cost’ of education and training.”
Ten tips he offered for making wellness programs work more effectively:
“Worksite wellness programs are no longer a peripheral part of a company's HR activities, but are now a key component,” Powell said. “Successful organizations in the coming decade will embrace the concept of wellness and offer programs with characteristics that have been proved to lead to success.”
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