Employee wellness is one of the most important indicators of an organization’s productivity and longevity. When employees are healthy and feeling their best, they will feel more engaged and loyal to their workplace. Likewise, when they feel appreciated and cared for, they’re able to do their best work without interruption. In fact, studies show that employers who provide wellness programs see a six-to-one return on their investment. These benefits are crucial to creating a positive workplace culture.

But as any HR leader knows, adding wellness programs doesn’t always mean your employees will use them, and not all benefits drive the same results. To build an effective employee wellness program, it’s crucial to understand how to measure their performance. Here’s a hint — it goes deeper than utilization. In this article, we’ll discuss the key leading indicators of successful employee wellness benefits, and how you can measure them in your organization.

Employee wellness program metrics: overview

Your wellness benefits likely consists of multiple, distinct wellness programs for the different needs and phases of life of your employees. In addition to health insurance, your package may include benefits for family building and pregnancy, mental health, physical health, childcare, retirement, and more. It may also include perks like fitness reimbursements, virtual care platforms, employee financial wellness programs, or even cheap prescription drugs. 

To measure success, you first need to understand how each wellness program aims to help your employees. This can include improved employee engagement, improved employee loyalty, or even improved healthcare outcomes. When you know how each program intends to help, you can measure their outcomes against your baseline. This can include metrics like participation, engagement, and utilization, but also cost savings, employee satisfaction and retention, and even healthcare outcomes.

Tracking these metrics allows you to analyze the impact of you employee wellness programs, and make data-driven decisions about what your employees want, need, and will benefit the most from.

The key metrics to measure in employee wellness

Although employee wellness benefits may target different aspects of health and wellness, there are generally five categories of metrics you can track to measure success.

1. Participation rates

The most obvious way to measure how well a wellness benefit is working is to look at how many eligible employees are actually signed up to use it. Generally speaking, if a lot of your employees are using something, it’s for a good reason. Most vendors will give you monthly or quarterly enrollment reports, especially if it’s a program where you pay per enrollment. But you can also run quarterly or annual benefits surveys and ask your employees which benefits they actually use.

2. Engagement levels

Engagement is closely related to participation. It measures how many people use a benefit on a consistent basis, and to what extent they use it over a period of time. Whereas participation may tell you someone signed up for a wellness program, engagement tells you they’re actually using it. Engagement is closely correlated to business outcomes: a recent Gartner survey found that 48% of employees who use wellness programs are considered ‘highly engaged’ in their workplace. 

3. Health outcomes

Some employee wellness programs, like Maven, provide care that produces specific outcomes for people in your organization, including reducing ER visits, NICU admissions, or even C-section rates. Measuring these health outcomes usually requires some collaboration between your benefits provider, your health insurance, and your HR team. The health outcomes you track will vary depending on the service the benefit provides. For example, if you’re working with a virtual care provider, you would be looking for ways the benefit reduces hospital visits, improves access to care, or lowers healthcare costs.

Related: A leading life sciences company improves maternal health outcomes & lowers costs with Maven

4. Employee satisfaction

Employee wellness, engagement, and satisfaction are all closely linked. Measuring employee satisfaction, especially as it relates to your wellness programs, can help you identify whether your benefits are sufficient for their needs, or if there are gaps you need to fill.

When surveying your employees during benefits evaluations or open enrollment, consider asking questions about how satisfied and engaged your employees are. You can also ask specific questions around your wellness program offerings to help connect your investments to their happiness.

5. Cost savings and ROI

Employee benefits are in many ways an investment. The dividends, however, are not always immediately apparent. But as a general rule of thumb, if your employees are healthier, they will use fewer healthcare resources. One way to measure how well they’re performing is to evaluate relevant cost savings, so you can better understand your ROI.

For wellness programs that target specific employee health outcomes, like mental health or physical health, you can look at year over year healthcare claims numbers to see if the benefit had an impact. You can also look to your employee retention numbers following a benefit’s rollout to get a sense of how it may have helped. As for a baseline, a recent SHRM report found that every dollar invested in health and wellness resulted in nearly six dollars returned in cost savings and productivity.

Maven’s State of Women’s and Family Health Benefits 2024

How fertility, maternal health, and Gen Z are transforming benefits decisions.

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Maven’s State of Women’s and Family Health Benefits 2024

Tools and techniques for tracking wellness metrics

Measuring wellness metrics comes down to understanding how your employee wellness programs work and what impact they intend to have. There are two main ways to dig in.

1. Surveys and feedback tools

Generating first-party data about employee satisfaction and engagement can be easily achieved through surveys and feedback. There are a number of tools on the market that can help you gather feedback from employees and analyze the results. Whether you do it the DIY way with a Google Form and an excel sheet, or work with a third-party vendor, gathering this data helps you precisely define the impact of your wellness program and benefits with employee feedback.

2. Digital health platforms

Some employee wellness programs are dispensed through digital health platforms. These benefits will track wellness metrics in their platform, including usage, engagement, and even outcomes, and provide you with relevant reporting tools. The benefit here is that the data comes directly from the benefit, using data that only the vendor has access to like usage over time, member demographics, or in some cases the types of appointments made on a platform.

Best practices for analyzing employee wellness programs

We’ve talked a lot about what wellness metrics you should look for and how you can gather them. Now let’s discuss how to use it.

1. Establish a baseline

The baseline is the reference point for improvements and ROI. You can establish a baseline relative to when you roll out a benefit, or if you’ve been using a platform or provider for some time, as a year-over-year average. 

Collecting the baseline starts with identifying what you want to measure, and then finding where the data lives. For example, if you brought on a virtual care provider to target skyrocketing maternity costs among your employees, you would measure success by referencing employee health metrics like healthcare costs and hospital admissions before you rolled out the benefit.

2. Continuous monitoring and evaluation

Healthcare is a lifelong journey. For some outcomes, the time horizon is long, like mental health outcomes or chronic disease management. For others, you can measure quick wins, like fitness program participation. No matter what you’re measuring, it’s crucial to constantly gather data, and to set reasonable intervals at which you evaluate the impact. This may be monthly, quarterly, or even yearly.

3. Communicate results to stakeholders

Results don’t just help you evaluate success: they help you build a business case for investment (or divestment). When you’re consistently measuring outcomes and ROI, you can choose an appropriate interval with which to communicate the success of your wellness programs to stakeholders, including your C-Suite, board, or even your employees.

When doing so, be sure to communicate in plain language how your employee wellness programs are making an impact, and choose the right metrics for your stakeholders. The ones who hold the purse strings want to see returns, while users want to see impacts. Member stories and case studies are a great way to succinctly and emotionally convey the impacts of your programs.

Case study: Cozen O’Connor launches an inclusive, accessible family-building care benefit with Maven

Cozen O’Conner, an international law firm based out of Philadelphia, has always been on the cutting edge of benefits. The firm offers a robust package of benefits for employees building their families, but they wanted to ensure their employees were getting the best experience when pursuing fertility treatments, including accurate information, cost-effective alternatives, and seamless financial assistance.

They expanded their partnership with Maven to add Maven Managed Benefit, so that employees could receive concierge-level support as they build their families. Over half of employees in the Fertility & Family Building program have signed up for financial support through Maven Managed Benefit, indicating high usage and satisfaction. Likewise, employees have rated consistently rated their appointment 4.9/5.

Generating ROI and cost savings with Maven

The market for employee wellness programs is crowded — but the best solutions can offer ROI, outcomes, and results for your employees. Better yet, they can help your team track and manage these metrics, so you can spend more time focusing on your employees and less time re-learning excel formulas.

Maven is your go-to resource for all things family: our solutions give your employees 24/7 access to personalized care for all of their family building, maternity, and parenting needs. They can access thousands of hours of content and classes, in addition to booking appointments with experts like fertility financial experts and adoption coaches.

Maven also helps your HR team administer benefits like fertility reimbursements, boosting utilization, ensuring compliance, and removing the burden from your staff. To find out how Maven can help your employees maximize financial wellness for their families, contact our team today.

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