There is quite a bit of literature focused on ROI and employee
wellness programs. However, you have asked * specifically * about
employee "workout facilities" and ROI, for which the literature is
I have compiled some references that should prove helpful. Although
many of the ROI studies involve other aspects of wellness besides just
the ROI for an employee exercise facility, I have tried to focus on
those that mention in-house fitness facilities or employee-sponsored
membership at a gym as part of the wellness component.
From "What?s the ROI? A Systematic Review of Return on Investment
(ROI) Studies of Corporate Health and Productivity Management
Initiatives," by Ron Z. Goetzel, Ph.D. Timothy R. Juday, MPA and
Ronald J. Ozminkowski, Ph.D. AWHP?s Worksite Health, Summer 1999, pp.
Corporate health management programs often include:
? health risk assessment,
? exercise/fitness facilities/programs,
? nutrition education,
? stress reduction programs,
? disease screening,
? high risk intervention programs,
? smoking cessation programs
ROI studies of health management programs have been conducted for:
? Canada and North American Life
? Chevron Corporation
? City of Mesa, Arizona
? General Mills
? General Motors
? Johnson & Johnson
? Pacific Bell
? Proctor and Gamble
"ROI estimates in these nine studies ranged from $1.40 - $4.90 in
savings per dollar spent on these programs. l Median ROI was $3 in
benefits per dollar spent on program. Sample sizes ranged from 500 -
50,000 subjects in these studies."
From "Company Interview: Jerry Noyce, Wesley Winnekins, Health Fitness
Corporation." Wall Street Transcript. June 3, 2002.
Mr. Winnekins: "In general, the research that has been done indicates
that onsite fitness centers do improve the overall health and wellness
of an employee population, resulting in fewer sick days. But there
hasn?t been a lot of empirical data that has quantified potential cost
savings. It is basically an intuitive concept that an onsite health
and wellness program is going to positively impact a company?s bottom
line. But historically, companies have found it very difficult to put
their arms around solid data to show an ROI for such an expenditure."
Mr. Noyce: There have been some direct studies. Steelcase Company
performed studies during the 1990s. Based on the information gathered,
the return was anywhere from 2 to 10:1 in terms of reduced healthcare
cost, reduced amount of lost time due to sick days, and so forth. But
again, as Wes said, I think that there still needs to be more work
done in that area, really developing strong data."
The following article provides a good overview of the state of
employer/employee wellness programs currently in place:
"Wellness Initiatives," By Monica M. Desmond. CEBS
From "Working Out at Work," by Jim Narum. Employee Benefits Planner.
Second Quarter 2003.
"Despite those negative national and local health trends, there is
hope for companies that want to reverse or slow those trends within
their work forces. A proven solution is work-site fitness and wellness
programs. These programs have resulted in improved fitness and health
for employees and have had apositive return on investment (ROI).
According to Health Promotion Advocates, a consortium of groups and
individuals committed to health and fitness, for every dollar spent on
work-site wellness and fitness programs, a company saves $5.82 in
absenteeism costs and $3.48 in medical costs."
Not all companies have their own facilities, but many employees
partake in fitness programs sponsored by the company:
From "Health Clubs and Plans: A New Opportunity - Corporate America is
facing a healthcare crisis that IHRSA facilities can help solve," By
George DeVries. IHRSA.
"Until recently, many firms thought that, while their fitness and
wellness programs were good for the labor force, there was no real
evidence that they were good for the company's bottom line - in short,
they weren't able to document a positive return on investment (ROI).
Recently, however, the reports of promising results have been
"For example, at Motorola, Inc., based in Plantation, Florida,
executives claim that, for every dollar the company spends on wellness
programs, it saves $3.93. The savings, they say, come from reduced
employee absenteeism and greater productivity, and from lower
health-insurance costs. Motorola, to its credit, promotes fitness both
on and off-site. Not all that long ago, it built a new
6,500-square-foot fitness center for its headquarters staff, and it
offers each worker $240 a year to spend on a club membership."
"In another study, NASA found that participants in an exercise program
had improved stamina and work performance, and enhanced concentration
and decision-making powers, for the final two hours of the workday,
compared to a 50% decrease for the average office worker during the
same period. This, NASA, calculated, amounted to a 12.5% increase in
"Thanks, in part, to the accumulating studies, in a wide range of
industries, demonstrating the efficacy of employee fitness
initiatives, more and more companies have turned to clubs for
assistance. Since 1999, there's been a 35% increase in the number of
firms offering membership subsidies or reimbursements, points out the
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Employees also seem more
inclined to take part: a recent IHRSA study found that more than 80%
of them would make use of a club regularly if their company was
underwriting their dues."
From "Prevention Makes Common "Cents". U.S. Dept. Of Health and Human
Services. September 2003. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/prevention/
Excerpt about Pfizer's program and ROI:
"In Pfizer's New York location, 85% of employees participate in one or
more programs, and 80% of employees use on-site health services. Over
41% (1,850 members) of the total population participates in the
fitness center at this site, with waiting list of 250 for enrollment.
The Premier Employer Program is promoted via communication and
education to employees delivered via a variety of media. Print
materials, on-site communication, and intranet/internet access to
information on the health management program ensures that employees
have access to information regarding program initiatives. These media
also provide up-to-date information on health risk reduction. New
initiatives are added as needs are reassessed and program
effectiveness evaluated. Pfizer's research staff measures the impact
of initiatives and analyzes the cost-effectiveness and return on
"Pfizer's ergonomics program demonstrated a return on investment (ROI)
of 3.51 to 1 and a net savings of $1,153,206 for participants. The
physical therapy program generated an average ROI of 3.61 to 1 (2001),
and produced over $579,000 in savings related to employee lost time
avoided by on-site access to services. In 1998, the ROI for the
fitness centers program was 4.29 to 1."
SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) has compiled some Key
Findings pertaining to employee wellness/fitness programs. The
following link contains abstracts about employee fitness facilities
and ROI. Several of the other abstracts may also be of interest.
Actual Cost Savings
5.7. Key Finding:
"A comprehensive health promotion programme, including intervention
programmes and a fitness centre was made available to employees at the
Progressive Corporation headquarters. A limited programme, which
focused on health risk awareness and identification programmes was
made available to employees in other locations. It was found that the
medical-cost change (average costs for the first three years of the
programme compared to the second three years) was significantly
different for the two groups: the comprehensive programme participants
showed an average decrease of US$96 while the limited programme
participants showed an average increase of US$408."
Reference: Musich, S.A., Adams, L., Edinton, D. - "Effectiveness of
health promotion programs in moderating medical costs in the USA."
Health Promotion International. 2000, 15(1) 5-15.
5.8. Key Finding:
"At Proctor and Gamble, a health promotion programme was instituted in
which participating employees completed a questionnaire and
participated in one-on-one high-risk interventions. Programme
offerings included disease prevention, on-site aerobics, weight
management, smoking cessation, educational programmes, and screenings.
In the third year of the programme, participants had a 29 percent
reduction in lifestyle-related health care costs (defined as health
care expenditures from diseases related to individuals' behaviours and
lifestyles, such as abuse of drugs or inadequate exercise)."
Reference: Goetzel, R.Z., Jacobson, B., Aldana, S. et al - "Health
care costs of worksite health promotion participants and
non-participants." Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
1998, 40(4) 341-346.
5.9. Key Finding:
"At Steelcase Inc. high-risk employees who participated in a wellness
programme and reduced their health risk, had a significant decrease in
medical claims. Their medical claims went from US$1,155 in the first
three years of the programme, to US$537 in the second three years of
the programme, a decrease of 53.5%."
Reference: Yen, L.T., Edington, D., Witting, P. - "Corporate medical
claim cost distributions and factors associated with high-cost
status." Journal of Occupational Medicine. 1994, 36(5). 505-515.
5.10. Key Finding:
"The sample of 3,974 employees of Apple Computer were divided into
male and female groups and then further categorised according to age
and whether or not they were users of the Apple Health and Fitness
Programme. Participation was measured over an 11-month testing period.
No significant difference was found among male users and non-users
within the age cohorts. Meanwhile, a significant difference was found
in females 31 to 40 years and females 41 and older. In females 31 to
40 the non-users were found to have significantly lower medical costs
while the opposite was true for females over 41 years of age."
Reference: Black, M.W. - "Effects of a corporate sponsored fitness
program on health care costs: a comparison of users and non-users."
International Institute for Sport & Human Performance, University of
The following Return on Investment Studies on the same page may also
be of interest, even though they do not focus exclusively on in-house
5.1. Reference: Aldana, S.G. - "Financial impact of health promotion
programs: a comprehensive review of the literature." American Journal
of Health Promotion. May/June 2001. 15 (5) 296-320.
5.2. Reference: Golaszewski, T. - "Shining lights: studies that have
most influenced the understanding of health promotionÔs financial
American Journal of Health Promotion. May/June 2001. 15 (5) 332-340.
5.3. Reference: Goetzel, R.Z., Juday, T.R., and Ozminkowski, R.J. -
What's the ROI? A systematic review of return on investment (ROI)
studies of corporate health and productivity management initiatives.
AWHP's Worksite Healt., Summer, 1999.
5.4. Reference: Ozminkowski, R.J., Dunn, R.L., Goetzel, R.Z. et al - A
return on investment evaluation of the Citibank, N.A. health
American Journal of Health Promotion. 14(1), 1999. 31-43.
The abstracts contained on the following link may be of interest even
though they are not specific to corporate fitness facilities:
"Benefits to the Employer of Physical Activity."
Perhaps another question I answered recently might contain some
information of value, athough the articles are not specific to ROI
For additional information on ROI for employee wellness programs in
general, and not exclusive to fitness facilities, please see the
"U.S. Corporate Wellness Study," by Niels C. Hauffe. Technology Review
123. 2002. http://www.tekes.fi/julkaisut/US_Corporate_Wellness_Study.pdf
"Health-related and economic benefits of workplace health promotion
and prevention: Summary of the scientific evidence," by Julia Kreis
und Wolfgang B÷deker. IGA Report. 2004
"According to Aldana (19) the so-called "return of investment" (ROI)
in respect of the reduction of medical costs is between 1:2.3 and
1:5.9 - this value is all the more impressive because it is to be
found in a study controlled at random."
I hope these references provide some helpful data for your research!
ROI AND employee fitness facilities
ROI and corporate fitness facilities