Dollars and sense: the financial impact of Canadian wellness initiatives†

Health Promot Int. 2015 Sep;30(3):495-504. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dat070. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


The popular press reports anecdotal benefits of organizational initiatives that are designed to improve employees' work-life balance and wellness, but the long-term impact of these initiatives on firms' financial performance is unknown. Our longitudinal study of publicly traded Canadian organizations uses the strategic human resources management framework to explain why these initiatives may affect their financial performance. We use an exploratory factor analysis of three waves of archival data to identify two types of initiatives and regression to measure their impact on return on assets (ROA). Our findings suggest that, after 2 years, health promotion initiatives significantly decreased ROA, while work-life balance initiatives significantly increased it. Both effects became non-significant over the longer term.

Keywords: Canada; employee health; financial performance; wellness initiatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Industry / economics*
  • Industry / organization & administration
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Occupational Health / economics*
  • Organizational Culture*