How Smart CPOs and HR Leaders Make Their Case for Employee Wellness Programs—and You Can, Too
Ever felt unprepared when you’ve had to make a tight, data-driven argument for employee wellness programs to your CFO or CEO? Then a recent joint Nucleus Research/BrightPlan webinar might be just the “equalizer” you need. And as Nucleus VP of Advisory & Consulting Trevor White walks you through the easy-to-follow process for quantifying the business case for wellness, you’ll realize that you’re not alone, and there are now some excellent tools and methodologies out there to help you in your fight.
Diane Strohfus, former CPO for Moody’s and a webinar participant, nailed the dilemma for chief people officers (CPOs) and HR leaders in the expert practitioner half of the webinar.
"What we're seeing today is a lot of stress created around the economic situation that we're currently finding ourselves in, and employees are depending on us to help them get through it. Programs HR once developed might have been viewed as less important for business outcomes are now super important,” Strohfus says in the webinar.
However , she explains, it’s essential for wellness advocates to quantify their business case. “We’re really data-driven now. We don’t get to make business or monetary decisions unless we have data to support it,” she says.
HR Leaders Have New Tools and Techniques to Think Like a CFO
Amy Hanlon-Rodemich, CPO for enterprise network giant Nokia and also a Nucleus webinar participant, agrees. “You have to think like a CFO,” she says.
CFOs agree wholeheartedly with that advice. CFOs like Nucleus Research webinar participant Mark Hawkins, former president and CFO emeritus at Salesforce, who now sits on such boards as Workday and is involved with multiple tech investment companies. “Bring the facts,” he says. “Make a case to compete for capital allocation. Not to do so puts financial people in an untenable position. The tools are so good, this is now so doable, and will help our long-term success.”
And, adds Hawkins, there is plenty of research to show that financial wellness is critical to achieving overall wellness, because financial wellbeing is often a prerequisite for having the means to afford the things that lead to better physical and mental health.
“Research shows there are two pillars that are important in business success: Customer success and employee success. [That’s why] I love using and applying tools and programs like BrightPlan to help people, because helping them is really helping ourselves,” says Hawkins.
“It’s more than just meeting their important needs. It's also conveying that ‘I understand you, I care about you.’ And there’s also a second-order effect that creates credibility and trust for leadership.”
Data-Based Tools and Nucleus Tools Help Quantify Wellness Program Impact
However, thinking like a CFO can be challenging, and the Nucleus Research methodology outlined in the joint Nucleus/BrightPlan webinar addresses some ways to meet a challenge that Hanlon-Rodemich confronts daily. “When it comes to calculating ROI on wellness programs, a lot of what I’m trying to do is to quantify goodwill, and that’s hard, so I have to triangulate. I look at attrition, I look at survey data and focus groups,” says Hanlon-Rodemich.
For a real-life case study of a company that adopted BrightPlan and later used Nucleus Research techniques and quantified a 75% ROI on their wellness investments, check out this Bread Financial case study.
How to Quantify You’re the Impact of Your Own Wellness Program
“Most people are not going to say, ‘I was thinking about quitting, but then the company’s tools and programs helped me financially, so I stayed and became more productive,’” she says.
That’s part of why HR pros are turning to financial tools and programs that promote financial wellness. The best of them help employees to make better financial wellness decisions and collect anonymous data that HR pros can use in ROI calculations, driving employee retention and engagement.