The Fitness Challenge Handbook

Post-Challenge Activities

Quantify your challenge results by calculating return on investment

Post-Challenge Activities

Even after all the awards are handed out, there is still work to do determining Return on Investment (ROI) and possibly preparing for the next challenge.

Return On Investment

You may very well have sold the idea of a fitness challenge to upper management by quoting the commonly used ROI for wellness programs of 3:1. Alternately, a member of upper management came across that statistic and asked you to come up with a program. Either way, now is the time to start generating those numbers.

Calculating Metrics

To determine ROI you need the amount of money expended and the amount of money saved. Money expended will include items such as:
  • Total hours of admin time multiplied by total compensation (salary and benefits) per hour
  • Total hours of admin time multiplied by total compensation (salary and benefits) per hour
  • Total hours of participant time multiplied by average total compensation per hour for activities such as weigh-ins, sponsored walking groups, awards ceremony, etc.
  • Total cost of awards (if any)
  • Cost of system software (if any)
While it is difficult to determine actual time spent participating in challenge activities, your estimate will be fairly accurate. It is decidedly more difficult to determine your return for these expenses. Examples of items you should measure to determine return is as follows:
  • Average absentee rate for participants vs. average absentee rate for non-participants multiplied by the average total compensation per day
  • Average productivity for participants vs. average productivity for non-participants multiplied by the average total compensation per day
  • Cost of healthcare expenditures for participants vs. average healthcare rate for non-participants. Please note that using this metric can be misleading in challenges that target high-risk individuals such as a weight-loss challenge. In that case, you may want to use the healthcare costs of the same participants from a prior period.
  • Turnover rate of challenge participants vs. turnover rate of non-participants multiplied by the cost of hiring and training new workers.
  • Reduced costs from healthcare provider if discounts are available
While results will vary from program to program, a recent survey by Principal Financial Group found that, for each dollar spent on wellness, employers reduced medical costs by $3.27 per employee and absenteeism costs by $2.73 per employee.

Non-quantifiable benefit

Non-quantifiable benefits occur as a result of your employees participating in a fitness challenge but are very difficult to measure. These benefits do not necessarily belong in an ROI discussion but they are always valuable to note:
  • Team building and networking within the company
  • Improved mental health
  • Stronger employee-centric culture
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