Healthy Workplaces Can Lead to Employer Savings

March 1, 2011 ( – A new Sibson Consulting study concludes that organizations creating a “healthy culture” can reap the biggest rewards from encouraging healthy employees.

According to Sibson’s Healthy Enterprise Study, companies who proved the best at it had a strategic focus and a strategic plan built around healthy behaviors. Although only 17% of the organizations were effective at strategies that focus on optimal health and behavior, these organizations enjoyed the greatest impact.

The research also developed a “Healthy Enterprise Index” to measure an organization’s progress in the healthy workplace effort and found that the average company ended up with a 57% on a 1% to 100% scale, according to Sibson. Organizations with an index showing under 30% had an average annual per participant health care cost of $4,252 while those scoring 70% and above saw that figure drop to $3,329.

One potential problem, according to Sibson: most employers that have a wellness budget are spending a microscopic portion of their employee benefit outlay on wellness initiatives. Sibson said companies spend an average $80,000 annually on an employee’s wages, benefits, health care and time off combined, but only 0.16% on wellness.

“The return on investment in becoming a healthy enterprise is potentially considerable,” said Steve Cyboran, Sibson Vice President and study leader. “Employers should carefully design their initiatives to ensure an effective business outcome.”

The Sibson study is at