Massage therapy is oftentimes one component, along with other components such as education, gym memberships and nutritional counseling, of employee wellness programs. New research indicates the return on investment on comprehensive, well-run employee wellness programs is sometimes as high as six to one, and that good wellness programs result in lower costs, greater productivity and higher morale.

Researchers from Texas A&M University, Baylor University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center set out to identify components of well-run employee wellness programs. They found The most successful wellness programs are supported by “six essential pillars”:

1. engaged leadership at multiple levels
2. strategic alignment with the company’s identity and aspirations
3. a design that is broad in scope and high in relevance and quality
4. broad accessibility
5. internal and external partnerships; and
6. effective communications

The team studied 10 organizations that have financially sound workplace wellness programs, according to a Texas A&M University press release. They conducted interviews with about 300 people, including senior executives, managers of health-related functions and focus groups of middle managers and employees.

The team found companies in a variety of industries, including Johnson & Johnson, Lowe’s, H-E-B and Healthwise, have built their employee wellness programs on all six pillars and have reaped big rewards in the form of lower costs, greater productivity and higher morale, according to the press release.

The findings are published in an article in the December issue of Harvard Business Review titled, “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?”

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