Examining Well-Being Through the Lens of VOI

Something interesting caught our eye in Mercer’s 2018 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. It wasn’t a surprising outcome or unexplainable trend; it was how large employers are measuring the success of their employee well-being programs. 

The new lens through which employers are viewing that success? VOI, or value of investment. It’s a different set of metrics that can deliver a more holistic and accurate picture of your well-being program’s impact. 

How is VOI different from ROI?

First, let’s quickly establish what they have in common. They both examine the considerable investment you’ve made in your employees, their health, and reducing your overall spending. They both aim to help you answer the question: “Was it worth it?”

But there are some key differences. Return on investment, when applied to well-being programs, often focuses exclusively on health-related spending. Value of investment, on the other hand, seeks to collect a bigger picture of usable data. VOI might measure employee satisfaction, perception of culture, turnover and retention, productivity, team camaraderie, and more. Because of the wide range of metrics, VOI can give you and your benefits team a more inclusive snapshot of data to examine, supplying other value points to consider alongside the typical cost-reduction data.

When it comes to well-being programs, ROI data alone may not tell the whole story.

Why are VOI results important?

Consider, for example, ROI data that shows a successful decrease in healthcare spending per employeethis might seem like a win, but it’s not showing off the full picture. 

In this scenario, employees may be forgoing necessary care due to cost, saving money in the short-term but increasing risk for more serious conditions in the long run. Further, if you’re saving money on healthcare expenditures, but productivity hasn’t budged, morale and culture aren’t improving and retention could be trending downward. There’s no doubt that healthcare costs need to be contained. But to invest in longer-term solutions, a more holistic measurement system is neededand VOI may be the place to start.  

VOI data comes directly from your employees’ actions, and it can include more nuance as to why and how a well-being program is truly working.

Show me the proof points

More and more employers are adopting this measurement technique, discovering some interesting data along the way. According to Mercer, in 2017, large employers’ well-being programs drove gains in improved productivity and/or increased attraction and retention. Comprehensive well-being programs that addressed emotional and social well-being (in addition to physical) also correlated to lower turnover rates. 

As VOI becomes even more widely used, we may start to see correlations between well-being programs and… 

  • A reduction in absenteeism/presenteeism
  • Improved professional and social work relationships
  • Positive engagement and contributions to employee culture
  • Overall employee satisfaction 

The VOI stance

Is it something you’ve measured before? Is it something you’re interested in measuring? If you knew the true value that your employees put on your well-being investment, would that change how you design, deliver, and manage your benefits and well-being programs? A more tangible and complete picture of the data could be your best guidance.

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