10 Questions to Ask Wellness Vendors When Starting or Transitioning a Corporate Wellness Program
Finding the right wellness partner can be a challenge. Biometric screenings, health assessments, population health management, data security, participation and engagement rates, incentives – there are so many areas where you need the right expertise and guidance. Whether you are looking to start a wellness program or transition to a new wellness provider, here are ten questions you should ask to make sure you are entrusting your employees’ well-being to the right wellness partner.
Will the wellness partner develop a comprehensive strategy to promote your organization’s desired outcomes? Creating goals and objectives and developing a strategy to achieve them is vital to the success of your wellness initiative. Your wellness partner should have experience garnering senior level support, helping you align your program with your businesses culture, creating engaging and innovative programs, and providing a strong communications plan.
Does the wellness company hire appropriately credentialed and experienced staff run programs? For example, are metabolic syndrome or hypertension classes taught by Master’s level, Registered Dietitians or Registered Nurses rather than by ‘health professionals.’ Are nutrition programs taught by Master’s level Registered Dietitians and not personal trainers? Are exercise classes taught by degreed and certified exercise physiologists? Your programs are only as good as the professionals who teach them.
Does the wellness vendor offer a “hands-on” approach for both you and your employees? Businesses are busy running their operations and often lack the time to manage the details associated with a wellness program. Make sure your wellness provider’s services include handling all the details, large and small, so you don’t have to. Your employees will also benefit from a “hands-on” approach. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it was important to have a wellness vendor onsite, getting to know your employees and motivating them to become healthier. Those days will likely return so it’s important to choose a company that offers dedicated, onsite resources. In the meantime, your wellness partner should be easily accessible virtually – by phone, video chat or via their technology portal. Online and virtual programs should be engaging and run by credentialed staff who are invested in your employees’ well-being.
Does the wellness partner offer comprehensive, personalized programs? An innovative, personal approach is vital to the success of your program. Don’t settle for a wellness provider who offers cookie-cutter templates. A good wellness provider will develop custom-tailored programs for every client, no matter the employee size, population or working budget.
Will the wellness company work with your entire population and not just the at-risk employees? Your wellness partner should work with your entire employee population, not just those at risk. Ask if the wellness company offers a population health management approach that includes a combination of online resources, personal attention and onsite focus to ensure programs attract a wide range of employees. It is just as important to keep the healthy employees healthy as it is to address the needs of the at-risk employees. Research shows this to be a more cost-effective measure and utilizing this approach will help your program succeed.
Will the wellness vendor work to maximize your resources? Your wellness provider should be adept at conserving resources by finding ways to maximize the utilization of services that are already available to you and your organization, such as your EAP, healthcare provider, onsite cafeteria personnel, fitness center employees and any expertise you may already have on staff.
Does the provider have experience in your industry or with a population like your workforce? A wellness program that works for a boutique investment firm will not work for a lumber yard or a retail chain. Ask about the different types of programs the company has run for different types of businesses and make sure they have experience working with populations like your own. Depending on your industry, some employees may not have access to a computer, others may be working the third shift and others may spend most of their days working offsite. It’s important that your wellness partner knows how to work effectively with all types of employees no matter where they are located or what time of day they work.
Does the wellness company offer robust, cutting-edge technology? Technology is more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, but even post-COVID-19, it will be vital that a wellness provider’s technology solution provide leading-edge programming, ample heath resources and verifiable data through a robust reporting system. Ask if they offer a customizable technology portal that can be branded for your organization and that allows employees to sync their health tracking devices so they can upload health and exercise data.
What type of security and data protection measures does the vendor have in place? Let’s face it, wellness programs can make some employees uncomfortable – some are worried that the status of their health could negatively impact their position while others are simply suspicious of how their data will be handled. Security is not something to take lightly, especially when dealing with personal health information. Potential vendors should have security checks in place, documented information on how and where data is stored, and processes in place in case there is a security breach.
Will the company provide you with a list of references? After you have run through all these questions and are satisfied with the answers, ask any potential wellness partner for a list of references. A reputable wellness company should jump at the opportunity to provide you with a list of five to ten clients to talk to.
If you are looking to start a wellness program or transition your program to a new wellness partner, contact us. We’re happy to answer these questions and any additional questions you may have. We provide innovative, customized wellness programs to employers across the country and our clients would be happy to talk with you about the work we do for them.