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Leadership plays a vital role in workplace wellness success

Apr 20, 2015

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As part of a series of white papers that examines the Sun Life-Ivey Canadian Wellness Return on Investment (ROI) Study, Ivey Professor Michael Rouse and Shivani Parihar recently published a White Paper titled Management Behaviours Drive Workplace Wellness Program Results: The SMIL Model.

Rouse and Parihar analyzed and compiled the literature that examines the vital role that leadership engagement and employee participation play in the success of workplace wellness programs. 

Rouse takes his analysis further by developing the Senior Management Involvement and Leadership Model (SMIL), which breaks down the key factors, values and actions involved with ensuring health initiatives are successfully implemented into the workplace from the senior management level.

“Workplace wellness programs are important to organizational success and depend – for their success – upon senior managers serving as role models and showing leadership through their actions as well as their words,” Rouse said.

About the Study

Begun in 2011, the Sun Life-Ivey Canadian Wellness Return on Investment (ROI) Study looks to establish Canadian benchmarks on a series of outcomes including the ROI for workplace wellness programs, and the impact of wellness programs on employee and organizational health.

Phase One – a review of Canadian and global research literature to see if a ROI could be determined for companies investing in wellness programs – showed that:

  • Wellness programs save about 1.5 to 1.7 days in absenteeism per worker over 12 months.
  • That resulted in a savings of an estimated $251 per employee per year.

The second phase, which will be completed later this year, is a three-year study comparing Canadian companies with wellness programs to those that don’t have such programs.