Research into hard ROI figures for Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga and Yogic Breathing initiatives/programmes in the workplace is in it’s infancy in comparison to the now abundant and convincing evidence for their significantly positive impact on staff performance, productivity, wellbeing, stress and overall health – see our Evidence Base for many of these studies.
In fact, the evidence is so impressive that most businesses can immediately see the obvious ROI and don’t need hard figures for this.
Having said that, Sherpa is committed to providing you with the best evidence (if, for example, if your CEO or senior managers take some convincing), so here’s what we have specifically in terms of ROI:
Jaguar Land Rover
In 2016, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) started a Mindfulness programme, in collaboration with Kalapa Academy and Nijmegen University, supported by Oxford University, focusing on resilience and leadership, allowing several hundred employees from the Product Engineering department to experience a six-week Mindfulness programme.
The programme was comprised of a full day face-to-face session, four following online webinars, and then a half-day face-to-face session to conclude.
All participants underwent a pre-assessment phase in which they completed a questionnaire and took an Attention Network Test. The results determined their state of mental health and performance at the beginning of the programme. The same measurements were then taken again at the last session.
The results of the Attention Network Test demonstrated:
- Objective improvement in mental health and performance for the majority of participants.
- All participants also showed reduction in self-reported stress levels on the questionnaire.
- According to JLR, after only six weeks, the program had shown a quantifiable return on investment.
German-based European multinational software corporation SAP has seen an incredible 200% ROI on its Mindfulness programme, with the training leading to a rise in employee engagement and a fall in absenteeism.
Of SAP’s 91,000 employees, 6,500 have participated in a two-day programme, including several top executives. Another 5,500 are on a waiting list.
At the American health insurer, Aetna, nearly 15,000 employees have participated in at least one yoga or meditation class “and those who have report, on average, a:
- 28% reduction in their stress levels
- 20% improvement in sleep quality
- 19% reduction in pain.
- They also become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each, which Aetna estimates is worth $3,000 per employee per year.”
- Further to these benefits, in 2012 medical claims dropped by 7.3%, which amounted to a $9 million saving for the company.
Aetna calculates that this all adds up to an impressive 11:1 return on investment.
In 2002, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine published a report that found that a wellness programme at Coors Brewing Co. produced a return of $6.15 for every dollar invested in a Yoga-based Employee Wellness Programme over a six-year period.
The same report found that office furniture maker Steelcase Inc. received a return of $5.80 for every dollar it spent on its wellness programme over five years.
Equitable Life Insurance reaped a $5.52 return and Travelers Corp., now part of Citigroup Inc., got a $3.40 return for each dollar they invested over their first year.
Source: Annys Shin, The Washington Post, Mar 3, 2005
Dow Chemical Company
In 2012, the Dow Chemical Company used a shortened MBSR programme, which saw significant results, including:
- 30 % reduction in perceived stress
- 50 % decrease in number of high stress episodes
- 13 % increase in resiliency
- 15 % increase in work engagement and vigour
- 50 % decrease in employee burnout
- Significant improvement in dietary choices.
All measures were shown to be sustained or improved at a six-month follow-up.
These changes resulted in a bonus, both literally and figuratively. The decrease in employee burnout days represented a 20% potential increase in worker productivity.
At the current average salary for the participating employees, if sustained over time, this increase would be a potential savings of $2,580 per employee per year.
Mindfulness training in the workplace creates a much higher financial ROI than a relaxation or wellbeing programme alone.
Research shows that when participants work on developing mindfulness and changing their habits, certain parts of the brain associated with improved cognitive skills and emotional intelligence actually develop and grow too! This radically alters the way employees perform under stress and how they deal with complex tasks.
WELLBEING PROGRAMMES – an essential investment per se
‘Overwhelming evidence shows that workers who experience better wellbeing work harder, take less time off, produce more and have more success recruiting quality staff who then stay longer in their posts. Ultimately, this means that improving wellbeing increases profits.’
Wellbeing is now a fundamental part of the criteria for the majority of ‘best places to work’ accreditation awards.
Workplace wellness programmes are becoming more of a corporate social responsibility. They have shifted attitudes to action among organisations globally, raising awareness and employee entitlement to holistic wellness.
‘….this isn’t just some hippy fad – and marketers from all sectors and all sizes of company need to take heed; long-term investment in employees’ wellbeing really does pay off.
Insurer Direct Line Group has discovered this first-hand, after several years of investment in staff welfare. The insurer’s ambition to incorporate mental and emotional wellbeing into performance management saw its new business rise to 31% growth in 2016 after previously suffering a 16% decline. It also won a gold prize at the IPA Effectiveness Awards in the same year.’
The UK Government says “Businesses drive our economy and are rightly focused on growth, productivity and delivering a return on their investments. Investing in workplace inclusivity, health and wellbeing is critical to these goals,” (‘Wellbeing moves into the workplace’, FT, 7 July 2017)
Happiness and productivity
Happiness and productivity are not only related, they’re practically indistinguishable. According to the iOpener Institute, in a company with 1,000 employees, increasing happiness in the workplace:
- Reduces the cost of employee turnover by 46%
- Reduces the cost of sick leave by 19%
- Increases performance and productivity by 12%
- And the happiest employees, compared with their less happy colleagues, spend 40% more focused on tasks and feel energized 65 % more of the time.
- Happier employees also take six fewer sick days a year and remain in their jobs twice as long.
In the US, a study by Towers Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health shows that organisations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition than do those whose programs have low effectiveness (9% vs. 15%).
An internal assessment by Johnson & Johnson found that the return on their wellness programs have been $2.71 for every dollar spent, resulting in cumulative savings of $250 million on health care costs for the company over the past decade.