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Employee Wellness Programs Demonstrate Positive Return on Investment for Businesses
Date:7/23/2009

The 10th Annual Conference and Exposition of the Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management--HR: Building Bridges to Success" in DeKalb, Ill. July 23-24

DEKALB, Ill., July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many executives and business owners are gradually realizing that employee wellness programs that help workers lose weight or quit smoking, for instance, also create robust return-on-investments. Two speakers at an upcoming conference being held in DeKalb, Ill., believe these programs are not only good for workers; they are good for business, too.

There are two sessions on employee wellness programs scheduled for the 10th Annual Illinois Human Resources Conference and Exposition on July 23rd and 24th,( ) organized by the Illinois State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Don R. Powell, PhD., president and CEO, American Institute of Preventive Medicine, Farmington Hills, Mich., advises companies to consider how comprehensive a wellness program should be for their company.

"HR managers should consider issues such as maximizing employee participation, involving dependents, teaching wise consumerism as well as online employee wellness programs that manage chronic diseases," Powell said.

Powell pointed out that successful employee wellness programs receive an average ROI of $3.48 to 1 due to reduced health care costs and $5.82 to 1 due to reduced absenteeism, making them worth considering.

"The data show that wellness programs can have an impact on health care costs," said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois senior vice president Dieter Freer. "Our experience at Blue Cross is that wellness programs targeting lifestyle factors that contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a host of other conditions can have an impact, especially on prescription drug costs."

Michael Kelly, director of Health and Wellness Services, HealthCheck360, recommends companies incorporate health risk assessments into their employee health and wellness programs.

"Health risk assessment can help predict future health care costs beyond mere health claims," Kelly said. Employee productivity can decrease due to emergent medical needs from chronic illnesses or missed work from longer hospital stays, both of which aren't reflected in direct medical claims, he said. Kelly will explore the use of wellness programming to be more proactive to prevent these indirect health care costs.

The Illinois Society of Human Resource Management also runs a workplace wellness website -- http://wellness.illinoisshrm.org -- that provides resources to HR executives and business owners. ISC-SHRM worked with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to develop the website.

The Conference is co-sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the

Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Advanced Media Network, LLC

About ISC-SHRM

The Illinois State Council for the Society for Human Resource Management (ISC-SHRM) is dedicated to serving the needs of SHRM chapters in Illinois by representation to SHRM and assistance in achieving each SHRM Illinois Chapter's highest potential.

The ISC-SHRM promotes professionalism in human resources and adds value to the SHRM membership. The ISC-SHRM Board is made up of volunteer representatives across Illinois who serve to advance the human resources profession.

ISC-SHRM supports over 9,400 human resources professionals in Illinois who are either members of SHRM Illinois chapters or members of SHRM by providing timely and relevant information, ongoing professional development opportunities and intra-state communication regarding issues of interest in the field of human resources.

For more information, visit ISC-SHRM on the web at www.illinoisshrm.org. You can also find ISC-SHRM on Facebook at http://companies.to/isshrm/ or Linkedin at www.linkedin.com.


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SOURCE Illinois State Council for the Society for Human Resource Management
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