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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HR's ROI

I am working on my goals and objectives for 2008. I have two "projects" planned that I need to write business proposals for that will include the plan, the budget and the "return on investment." The two projects are to develop and implement a Wellness Program and develop and implement a Worker's Compensation program (specifically establishing a partnership with the local Urgent Care Center as well as establishing a return to work program).

My difficulty is going to be quantifying the benefit of such programs. I think the Wellness program will be easier b/c I can provide data supporting the number of absences related to medical issues or actual production numbers and the effect of illness. I can then provide an estimate as to how absenteeism will decrease and presenteeism will increase with the help of a wellness program. The real struggle is going to be providing the numbers for establishing a partnership. Both programs will be extremely time-consuming and the results won't be realized right away.

Can you provide even just a few suggestions as to how I can present the proposals in such a way that I will have quantifiable evidence to support the investment?


I don't know anything about either one of those programs, other than my company has all sorts of wellness programs and everyone I know completely ignores it. So, good luck with that! (Other than the on site gym, which people do use.)

But, my general advice on this is to ask yourself this question: How will I know when we're successful?

Are you successful when 50 people come to your wellness seminar? Are you successful when one employee gives up smoking? Are you successful when people visit your designated urgent care center rather than their own primary care doctor? Are you successful when the time on leave due to worker's comp issues is cut in half? By 10%?

What does success look like?

Once you've identified what success is, (and it needs to be something measurable--writing down "employees are healthier" won't cut it. Sick days are down is measurable.), it's pretty easy to write everything down.

The key is developing your programs so that they are effective and measurable. I do not know how to do this for these two programs. At least you are already seeing that the return will not be immediate. Make sure you put time lines in for effectiveness. And do your research--find out what other companies have done and what their results have been. ([Competitor] began a wellness program in 2003. By year end 2007 their health insurance costs had increased 10%, as compared with our 40% increase.)

Good luck.

1 comment:

c said...

Re: The ROI of HR programs.

If you're trying to predict the ROI of your wellness program, simply identifying target numbers such as the number of employees attending a wellness seminar will not cut it. (Evil HR Lady, you should know better!) It may take a bit of work, but your best course of action is to work backwards from the company's desired outcome. (Note: it is important to start with the company's desired outcome, not whatever HR decides is "desired." In other words, why would the company be better (financially, for long term growth, productivity, etc.; your company likely defines "company improvements" in certain ways)? If you start there, and work your way back to the program, you should have a much better idea of why your company should implement these programs. Moreover, you should be able to cobble together at least a little bit of information for each of the links. (For example: there may not exist conclusive evidence that reducing the average number of sick days from 5 to 3 will increase productivity, but you should be able to find some information regarding this relationship.)
HR people often don't like to hear this. Many continue to believe that their programs are for the employee's benefit. However, and well run company will only invest in such programs if there is also a return to the company.
A good starting place is Jack and Patty Phillips' new ROI book, "Show Me The Money". It's an excellent book for people (in HR or elsewhere) who are just beginning to provide the ROI in their project proposals.