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29/10/09 ROI-on Company Spend on Health & Wellbeing.The Holy Grail.Pt1

This will be the first post about ROI, a subject that is much talked about, but still lacks total understanding in what it means, how much it matters, and how the hell do you calulate it!

Now lets leave the calculations to another day (this is pt1!) and take an overview of the meaning and morals of Return on Investment when investing in a health and wellbeing strategy. When HR or occupational health take the subject of the companies health and wellness into the boardroom, they’re looking for buy-in, their looking for a budget they can make a difference with. Sadly they are quite often met with ‘what the roi’, ‘show me the data, the graphs’ etc. This can often be a difficult task, especially as there are numerous elements that are (currently) unquantifiable. (eg, if you keep someone healthy whose to say they would have fallen ill in the first place). This though should not be the be all and end all. So much today in business is judged by whatever the ‘business case’ or ‘economic case’  stack up. What about the moral case, social or corporate responsibility, duty of care. Your staff generally spend a third of their day (read life) with you, hopefully undertaking tasks that benefit the company. That’s a fair slice of time under your care, and exposure to all the ills that the workplace can throw at you, so in turn throwing a bit of money (ie devising a well thought out health & wellbeing strategy) at making your employees enviroment a bit more special, comfortable and engaging would seem morally correct and responsible. The irony is, even without the monetary calculation, i’m convinced this will pay in the long run. Ultimately, your board will decide the cut of point in terms of acceptable cost (loss, break even, profit), but hopefully factored into the calculations will be a fair dose of goodwill, goodwill that will be returned to you, when your staff have an engrained belief that you care.