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Workplace Wellbeing: Shifting Away from ROI

June 14, 2016 / Uncategorized

How the VOI Model is More Adaptable to Your Organization’s NeedsROI Virgin Pulse

As an HR leader, you’re on a mission to invest in your employees to optimize engagement, health and performance. While we all agree investing in your people is important, business leaders often demand quantifiable results on their investment (both time and budget).

As a result, you’re tasked with leading a conversation about a very complex equation so that your manager, executives or even a board can see how your programs are affecting your organization’s bottom line.

So, where do you begin?

Address the ROI Question

The reality is that your return-on-investment, or “ROI” equation, is very complex – on both sides. Many elements of your program are complicated and make it difficult to research (executive buy-in, business conditions, vendors, following best practices, etc). On top of that, for wellbeing, the definition of ROI can be as narrow as the reduction in your medical claims. The goals of your program are likely far broader than this, so start by addressing how you define ROI and then adjusting it.

Change the Equation

Well over a decade ago, Gartner introduced the concept of value-on-investment, or “VOI.” Yet, Virgin Pulse Science Advisory Board Member Ron Z. Goetzel, Ph.D., of Truven Health Analytics, an IBM company, is often still asked how to prove ROI – which he believes does not tell the entire story when it comes to wellbeing programs.

Dr. Goetzel and his team conducted and documented a two-year research initiative on health promotion practices, how to build winning wellbeing programs and how to prove the value of said programs. Now, Dr. Goetzel and the Virgin pulse team are bringing the modern VOI perspective and assessment methodology to the wellbeing industry.

Put It to Practice. Move Metrics.

VOI as a model is more comprehensive and flexible and adaptable to a company’s specific needs. At Virgin Pulse, we have shown positive impact on business and talent concerns like absence, safety, performance and productivity, turnover, and even customer quality and customer satisfaction.

We know that across our entire book of business, Virgin Pulse members who are actively engaged with the program are up to half as likely to leave their organizations as those who don’t get actively involved. In other words, if a company enrolls two additional people, the Virgin Pulse program significantly aids in the retention of one of those employees. That’s a powerful impact when you consider that turnover costs a minimum of about one-third of an annual salary.

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Another client study we performed showed that engaged members were half as likely to have a safety incident and that the member population cost the company one-third as much in worker’s compensation claims costs compared to those who didn’t enroll in the program.

This statistic is particularly powerful in the sense that it speaks to the specific needs of the organization in relation to VOI. With the organization understanding the value it sought from its wellbeing initiative, there arose a strategic alternative – Virgin Pulse enrollment campaigns – to help achieve the business goal of a safer work environment.

Want to know how to demonstrate the value-on-investment to stakeholders at your organization? Download our whitepaper written by Dr. Goetzel to learn more.


Julie Carey is the Director of Product Marketing at Virgin Pulse.  Julie brings nearly a decade of technology marketing experience to influence go-to-market strategy, messaging, and buyer understanding for Virgin Pulse. She blends her interests in all things wellbeing to help organizations become happier, healthier and more successful. A frequent marathon and distance race runner, she is always keeping an eye out for her next running adventure!

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