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16 Oct 2017

Hard Returns: How to Prove Your ROI on Employee Benefits Spending

Here are some ways to help you win internal buy-in, invest in better benefits, and become a true advocate for your employees.

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There's nothing quite like internal pushback to take the wind right out of an HR leader's sails.

You can know down to your very core, that your benefits tangibly improve employee productivity — and you will still be hard pressed to prove it. Even at the largest companies, connecting individual outcomes to the company's bottom line is an incredibly challenging task. Here are some ways to help you win internal buy-in, invest in better benefits, and become a true advocate for your employees.


Get employee buy-in first

This time of year, all the new benefits get rolled out...and then promptly forgotten. But if employees don't use the benefits on offer, the ROI question is moot. You're definitely wasting money.

From the beginning, it's important to emphasize long term participation rates, beyond open enrolment, by maintaining a dialogue with staff throughout the year. Align your communication strategy with the natural workflow of each department to make it easy. For example, if your office has a combo of manufacturing and knowledge workers, use posters on the manufacturing floor, plus an eye-catching email to distribute to the office teams.

Always make sure you keep the communication clear and value-driven. No one likes reading a massive benefits handbook chocked full of policy jargon.


Know what's valued internally

Research on the hard returns of employee benefits is filled with both good and bad news. For example, one study found that companies that invested in workforce health enjoyed 235% stock appreciation, compared to just 159% for companies with no wellness investment. But great ROI can take time. According to another study by RAND Corporation, it can take up to five years to breakeven on health benefits.

Things get even more complicated when HR leaders are asked to quantify intangible outcomes, such as company culture or talent recruitment. Before you spend days compiling your report, get clear on what ROI means in your organisation. Join forces with finance, marketing and other departments to determine which objectives are on the top of their list and brainstorm ways to connect those outcomes to your employee benefits.

When you rally support early on, internal stakeholders will be more likely to have your back later on down the road.


Choose your metrics

Though many companies report huge cost savings on employee benefits, it's usually quite difficult to replicate studies at another location within the business, let alone take the necessary steps to have findings peer reviewed.

And even then, factors such as the cost of the benefit, changes in the organisation, economy, workforce demographics and job market can significantly alter your ROI from year to year.

Once you know which objectives are of top priority internally, you can quickly prepare an effective value case by simply comparing trends in your data using past data or the national average as your benchmark. Here are some metrics to help you make the case:

  • Original spend
  • Participation numbers
  • Employee comments and feedback
  • Healthcare costs
  • Lifestyle behaviour (number of employees who quit smoking or reduce their cholesterol)
  • Absenteeism and presenteeism

This time of year, HR pros are under extreme pressure to make the right choice for their companies and their employees. And though you might not be able to prove your benefits are the sole reason retention rates are up, with a little internal collaboration and the right data points, you can make it easy to see how everyone wins when employees love their benefits.

When you sign up with babylon, you’ll have access to your very own customer success manager to help you roll out the benefit to your employees effectively.


Want to find out more information on how we will help you onboard your team and want else we can do to make the partnership a success? Email Aliya on aliya.brijnath@babylonhealth.com.

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