Workplace Wellness: Going Beyond Return on Investment

Engagement, Motivation and Support are the Keys to a Successful Program

By: Candace Headley, Wellness Development Manager


Worksite wellness programs have been around for more than 40 years. Traditional medical-cost-based Return on Investment (ROI) approaches have arguably been the most important aspect and driver of these programs. However, having had a pulse on employee benefits programs for many years, we at Midsouth Benefits caution that this focus is outdated and flawed. Organizations of all sizes will need to embrace alternative perspectives to stay competitive. We recommend a shift from ROI to VOI, or VALUE on Investment.

Corporate wellness is no longer a perk … it’s an expectation. With the changing face of the workforce, including the influx of millennials, comprehensive wellness programs that include offerings such as flex time and telecommuting are becoming driving factors when deciding where to work.

Wellness is about behavior and lifestyle change, and change takes time and commitment. Wellness programs should provide employees with a sense of purpose and encourage positive morale, not just band-aid care, physical support and weight management programs.


  1. EMPOWER PARTICIPATION! Support and empower your employees to participate in your wellness program by providing them with the opportunities to do so. After all, much of our time is spent working whether it’s in the office or not.
  2. PREVENTABLE CARE ISN’T PREVENTABLE! Seventy-five percent of chronic illnesses and diseases are preventable. An employee wellness program should address care that preempts sickness. Routine check-ups as well as consistent, ongoing health education and awareness information can help sustain healthy lifestyles.
  3. BE CREATIVE AND AGILE! Workplace wellness programs should not be boring! There is no “cookie-cutter” wellness program. Be creative and build a wellness program that is open to change and embraces growth.  Employees need to be challenged and encouraged in different ways.
  4. MARKET YOUR PROGRAM!: As healthcare costs continue to rise, it is important to find ways to help your employees improve their bottom line by becoming engaged in your wellness program. Incentivize your employees to participate to win prizes, reduce premiums, etc.
  5. HEALTHY EMPLOYEES IS THE END-GOAL! Building and sustaining a wellness program takes time. Be sure to set clear and realistic goals. The idea behind wellness in the workplace seems straightforward: healthier employees. Without the participation of both employer and employee it will be hard to build a successful program.


Midsouth Benefits is an independent employee benefits agency and WBENC certified since 2011. Karen Larkin, CEO, and her team of dedicated, experienced professionals work primarily in the mid-size to large employee benefit marketplace (50 or more employees) brokering and consulting on a wide array of services including but not limited to benefits review, strategic planning, communication development, compliance, technology support and wellness program development. 

Reach out to Karen today at