Corporate Fitness Programs: Do they cost or pay?

An in-depth look at how corporate fitness and wellbeing generate ROI and VOI cost savings for organizations.

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Corporate fitness and wellness programs are becoming more popular as employers recognize the benefits of investing in their employees’ health and wellbeing. However, some employers may still wonder if these programs are worth the cost and how to measure their impact. In this article, we will explain how corporate health and fitness programs can generate both return on investment (ROI) and value on investment (VOI) cost savings for organizations.

In short, ROI is a calculation-based measurement that compares the financial benefits of a program to its cost. For corporate fitness and wellness programs, this means estimating how much money the organization saves on health care costs and reduced absenteeism by improving the health of its employees. VOI is a broader metric that considers the overall value of a program, including its effects on employee productivity, morale, engagement, retention, and satisfaction. Both ROI and VOI are important ways to evaluate the success of corporate fitness and wellness programs.

Findings from a meta-analysis of the vast literature on the costs and savings  associated with corporate fitness and wellness programs showed medical costs fell by about $3.27 for every dollar spent, and absenteeism costs fell by about $2.73 for every dollar spent. This is because corporate fitness programs can help prevent or reduce chronic diseases, lower health risks, and improve health outcomes for employees. As a result, employers can save money on health care claims, insurance premiums, and absenteeism.

However, ROI is not the only way to measure the value of corporate fitness and wellness programs. VOI is a more comprehensive metric that captures the intangible benefits of these programs , such as improved employee performance, happiness, loyalty, and culture. According to Employee Benefits News, VOI is gaining more credibility among organizations offering these types of programs, with over half of employers using at least one VOI metric to measure success. This is compared to about 28% using traditional ROI. This shift is reflected in the outcomes of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) 2022 Survey, revealing employer motivations for offering wellness initiatives is becoming less about reducing health care costs (31%) and more about improving overall employee wellbeing (69%).

Corporate fitness programs can enhance VOI by:

Boosting employee productivity: Corporate fitness programs can help employees improve their physical and mental health, which can lead to increased energy, focus, creativity, and problem-solving skills. One study showed that employees who participated in the program and improved their health or lifestyle, had significant improvements in lost work time. This correlated back to a $353 cost savings per person per year, and an increase of 10.3 hours of productive work compared to non-program participants.

Enhancing employee morale, culture, and job satisfaction: Corporate fitness programs can foster a positive work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated. Employees who participate in an employer fitness and wellness program statistically report higher levels of job satisfaction, happiness, and wellbeing than those who do not . These 2021 Survey Results evaluating employee perceptions on employer wellbeing programs, found 75% of U.S. employees stated that these types of programs are one of the reasons they stay at their job. A metric that increased from 70% in 2019. Additionally, 84% said it makes them feel better about their employer and 73% said it helps them connect with other employees who have similar goals and priorities. Building strong relationships and creating a sense of community among employees is at the core of CFW’s Fitness Management style, a differentiator we take great pride in demonstrating across all CFW managed fitness centers.

Increasing employee engagement: Speaking of employee connections, corporate fitness programs help create a sense of community and camaraderie by bringing together employees who share common goals and interests. Thanks to digital fitness platforms, like CFW Fit Streaming, we can foster these connections for all employees whether onsite, remote, or hybrid, with features like livestream classes experienced in real time with fellow co-workers and live instructors. Research shows that employees who participate in their employer fitness and wellness programs are three-times more likely to be engaged with their work and their colleagues than those who do not.

Reducing employee turnover: There is a clear connection between employee wellbeing and lower turnover. Corporate fitness programs remain an attractive benefit. They can help draw in and retain top talent by demonstrating the organization’s commitment to employee health and wellbeing. According to this national survey from Mercer, employers who offer such programs and create strong cultures of health have 11% lower turnover compared to employers not prioritizing employee wellbeing.

As you can see, corporate fitness programs can generate significant cost savings for organizations through both ROI and VOI metrics. By investing in employee health and wellbeing, employers can reap the benefits of reduced health risks and absenteeism, with improved employee performance, happiness, loyalty, and culture.

At Corporate Fitness Works, we are committed to helping our clients maximize their investment by supporting data analysis that evaluates both sides of the ROI/VOI equation. We lend credibility to your program as an experienced vendor that knows how to implement, monitor, and evaluate your corporate fitness program with ease and efficiency. We can also provide you with data-driven insights and reports to track your program’s progress and impact. Whether your needs are for the design and/or management a free-standing fitness facility, smaller-scale fitness suites with integrated programming, or a digital approach with interactive fitness platforms for remote and hybrid workforce, we customize our solutions to meet your needs and investment priorities. Connect with us today to discuss the full cost-benefit potential your corporate fitness offering can have.