Research shows that 75% of employers now offer some sort of wellness program. This can be from something simple such as an outsourced Employee Assistance Program (EAP), through to full-blown interventions, for example mindfulness courses, resilience training and on-site counselling 

However, there is a lack of data out there to suggest how effective these programs are. Are they correct for that company and its employees? Are there are a large enough range of interventions? Are they there at the time people need them? What is the effect they are having?  

Below we discuss some of the need for companies to begin tracking results of these such programs using analytics. 


Does one size fit all? 

Imagine you decided that your company needs some help with physical health in order to improve overall happiness and employee productivity. In order to achieve this, you set up a running club and expect everyone to attend it. It wouldn’t take long to work out where this would fall over (and I can back this up with my dislike of running!). If there were a range of programs, for example team sports, cycling, swimming, etc. then this would be more effective. In order to see what employees wanted, you would start to track basic data such as staff surveys towards type of activities. 

It always amazes me that people seem to get this straight away, yet when it comes to mental health, they go about this in an entirely different manner, and this is where the ‘mindfulness training for all’ approach appears. It is important, in the same way you would review which physical health programs are needed / wanted, that you go about your mental health and wellbeing programs in the same manner. 


Are your programs effective? 

In line with the above, if you were to begin to implement physical health programs, surely you would want to know which ones were being used? Do staff like them? Are they having any effect on the organisation? 

Again, in the same manner, we need to think about mental health and wellbeing programs in the same way. Companies need to have ways of tracking program outcomes and understand the effect they have on areas such as absenteeism and productivity. 


Know the Return 

If we were to track this even further and look at absenteeism and productivity details over time, we can begin to see how much companies are saving in comparison to the cost of programs. This is so important in the company, and can be tracked through Return on Investment or even Value on Investment. You can read more about that in our article: 'Wellness measures: ROI vs VOI, which should I use?'. 


Define strategy and report on progress 

Once we begin to truly understand what is going on with our mental health and wellbeing programs, we can begin to strategize what is happening. Companies can select strategic interventions for upcoming periods, including board level reports, and begin to test new theories using a data driven approachfor example what happens if we trial 2 versions of an event, one in the morning and one in the evening. Does this influence program outcomes?  


Stop the Hippo! 

I always believe this is worth a mention when talking about data analytics. The Hippo is the ‘Highest Paid Persons Opinion’. This occurs when there is no data available and the team are unable to justify decisions as everything becomes about opinion and unconscious bias. You can read more about how this affects decisions on mental health and wellbeing programs in our blog article: 'What is HR analytics'.


So, what next? 

If you’re looking to get started tracking some mental health and wellbeing analytics, then have a read of the following article: Blog article on Measuring Wellbeing at Work: Getting Started.


And if you want to go one step further, and start tracking the ROI of your wellbeing programmes now, then download our free mental health and wellbeing ROI calculator.

Download your Wellness ROI Calculator



Written by Christopher Golby