Why Value on Investment is the Metric of the Future

“How do you measure a successful Human Performance program?” Believe us, we get this question all the time. As the industry has evolved over the past five to 10 years, employers have been working to understand how to measure the success of their employee well-being initiatives. The typical benchmarks — expense cost per employee and return on investment (ROI) — have traditionally been important metrics, but they don’t tell the full success story of how Joe, a mid-career manager, or Sharon, a millennial in her first job out of college, are optimizing their Human Performance.

At ADURO, we talk less about ROI and more about VOI — the Value on Investment. VOI goes beyond the financial costs and looks at employee morale, productivity, culture, and retention rate within an organization. VOI was first examined in a 2001 Gartner study and has been a hot topic in the industry ever since. Today, it’s what shapes ADURO’s Human Performance experience and how our clients’ measure their success.


It’s important to understand the value that comes from measuring ROI vs. VOI. Measuring ROI, such as reducing the cost of employee healthcare, is an important financial goal that can help a company in the short term. Measuring and improving VOI through the engagement, retention, and health of employees in all aspects of life directly impacts the performance, growth, and success of companies in the long run. In fact, this study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine of more than 2,000 employees found improvements to well-being was more impactful on productivity than disease-related health care.

How do you know if VOI is the right metric? Look at your corporate culture and the culture of well-being at your organization. Do your goals go beyond simple costs and accounts of insurance claims to look at employee retention, absenteeism, happiness, and productivity? If so, measuring VOI is a step in the right direction.


One main reason that we focus on VOI is because of a subtle shift in how we view the employee. Our Human Performance programs give more than 100 clients the opportunity to customize their initiatives according to the needs of both the organization and the employee. These types of initiatives shift viewing the employee as a liability, in terms of how much they cost the company, to seeing them as an asset, regarding how much value they add to corporate culture and organizational success. We believe that when leaders evaluate their workers as whole people who can address work-related and personal issues in several ways, productivity, morale, and loyalty improve.

As a result of shifting from ROI to VOI, our clients have seen distinct measured improvements. We hired Forrester Research, a market research company, to make their own assessment of those improvements, based on interviews with two existing clients. Forrester found that the two organizations experienced higher employee retention, valued at $4,439,031. They also saw reduced absenteeism, a $1,217,563 savings. And they were paid back on their investment in less than five months.

Want real results you can measure? Check out our whitepaper, “The Total Economic Impact of ADURO.”