Improving the health of employees worldwide is vital to our global economic strength and growth. In the U.S. alone, the economic cost of chronic diseases is estimated at $1.3 trillion annually. The World Economic Forum’s Workplace Wellness Alliance was launched in 2010, and it has spent the years since driving home the critical importance of investing in workplace wellness.

This year, the Alliance is releasing a report that underscores a crucial ingredient to help our mission. Entitled “Making the Right Investment: Employee Health and the Power of Metrics,” the report focuses on the need to establish a common set of yardsticks that organizations can use to understand fully the impact of their wellness programs. It further demonstrates how imperative it is for all of us to work together to learn more about the ways we can encourage and enhance health and wellness in the workplace.

The Alliance’s collaborative structure has generated several key insights about developing a sustainable workforce. Primarily, we’ve learned that a healthy work environment makes a positive impact on employee engagement, productivity and the bottom line.

Among our insights and discoveries, Alliance members have also learned the monstrous toll of chronic diseases. In any given year, one-third of the world’s workforce must deal with diabetes, cancers, obesity and high blood pressure, among other maladies. But, workplace wellness programs that emphasize lifestyle changes and promote health clearly prove beneficial, research shows.

As the wise saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. That’s why we have collected homogeneous health metrics from almost two million employees across 25 companies. These metrics will help companies collaborate on a set of successful approaches and learn how to adapt best practices to their employees’ health needs.