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Return on Investment of a Work–Family Intervention: Evidence From the Work, Family, and Health Network

Barbosa, Carolina PhD; Bray, Jeremy W. PhD; Dowd, William N. BA; Mills, Michael J. MS; Moen, Phyllis PhD; Wipfli, Brad PhD; Olson, Ryan PhD; Kelly, Erin L.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 9 - p 943–951
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000520
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
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Objective: To estimate the return on investment (ROI) of a workplace initiative to reduce work–family conflict in a group-randomized 18-month field experiment in an information technology firm in the United States.

Methods: Intervention resources were micro-costed; benefits included medical costs, productivity (presenteeism), and turnover. Regression models were used to estimate the ROI, and cluster-robust bootstrap was used to calculate its confidence interval.

Results: For each participant, model-adjusted costs of the intervention were $690 and company savings were $1850 (2011 prices). The ROI was 1.68 (95% confidence interval, −8.85 to 9.47) and was robust in sensitivity analyses.

Conclusion: The positive ROI indicates that employers’ investment in an intervention to reduce work–family conflict can enhance their business. Although this was the first study to present a confidence interval for the ROI, results are comparable with the literature.

From the Behavioral Health Economics Program (Dr Barbosa), RTI International, Chicago, Ill; Department of Economics (Dr Bray), University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Behavioral Health Economics Program (Mr Dowd and Mr Mills), RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC; Department of Sociology (Drs Moen and Kelly), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (Drs Wipfli and Olson); and Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (Dr Olson), Oregon Health & Science University, and Department of Psychology, Portland State University, Ore.

Address correspondence to: Carolina Barbosa, PhD, RTI International, 230 West Monroe St, Ste 2100, Chicago, IL 60606 (cbarbosa@rti.org).

This research was conducted as part of the Work, Family, and Health Network, which is funded by a cooperative agreement through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (Grant # U01HD051217, U01HD051218, U01HD051256, U01HD051276), National Institute on Aging (Grant # U01AG027669), Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Grant # U010H008788). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of these institutes and offices.

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has a significant financial interest in NwETA, a company that may have a commercial interest in the results of this research and technology used in the intervention. This potential conflict was reviewed and managed by OHSU Conflict of Interest in Research Committee.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine