8 Ways to Achieve Wellness Program Success
The benefits of offering employee wellness programs have been enumerated in countless articles and studies – improved health, lower insurance costs, increased loyalty, improved employee retention and better productivity. However, what is often overlooked are the pitfalls employers may encounter when developing and implementing a wellness program – lack of participation, low engagement, a poor communications strategy – all of which can result in a program that does not get results. Below are eight secrets of successful corporate wellness programs, including tips that will help you avoid making some common mistakes.
Customize. There is no such thing as a one-size fits all program. Well-being initiatives must be tailored to the specific needs of your employees. Create a culture of health by exploring your employees’ interests and creating a wellness program that fits nicely with their interests while meeting their health needs.
Mine Data. Use tools and technology to generate data on your population’s health care utilization, to monitor fitness activities (through the use of wearable devices), and to gather program feedback. The data will help you decide where to allocate resources for the best outcomes.
Measure Impact. Use software platforms that can generate real time or monthly data metrics that will evaluate which medical conditions are costing your organization the most money and which preventative healthcare costs are being used appropriately. Data analysis can also be used to compare differences among office locations. This gives you the flexibility to roll out a program to only one location, rather than company-wide, if the data shows that only one office is suffering from a particular medical condition such as high cholesterol.
Develop a Culture of Activity. Introduce exercise and activity into daily workplace situations. Fitness challenges, midday exercise breaks, sit/stand desks, walking meetings, face-to-face conversations and signs reminding employees to take the stairs are all good ways to foster movement in your workplace.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Use a variety of communication tools – printed flyers, mailed communications, email, text messages, and social media. Employees receive information and communicate in many different ways.
Offer Activity Tracker Assistance. Offer employees help using, setting up, and syncing activity trackers. Not every employee will be familiar with how to use one or its benefits.
Incorporate Emotional Well-being. Utilize a holistic approach to employee wellness that includes emotional well-being in addition to physical health. Eliminate the stigma associated with needing emotional support in the workplace. Provide referrals to therapists or life coaches. Train managers to support employees in need.
Secure Management Buy-in. Support from top executives is the key to any health and wellness program’s success. Simple verbal approval is not enough. Actual participation by top management sends a strong signal to employees that the program is worth participating in and that even managers make health and wellness a priority.