The appeal of employee wellness programs is that they keep workers healthy through prevention. Flu shots, on-site gyms, support groups and free health appraisals are all part of the offering. Yet a new study from Buck Consultants found that — even though U.S. companies spent about 35% more ($220) per employee enrolled in such programs in 2010 compared to 2009 — only 40% of them actually took steps to measure their programs' effectiveness. For many, the ROI is unknown.
Technology may help. Buck researchers found that the fastest-growing wellness program components include Web-based portals and mobile technology. The options are seen as more cost-effective for the employer, and better suited to employee personalization — which may encourage deeper participation.