5 Things Every Benefits Consultant Should Look for When Recommending a Wellness Partner
Employee well-being is a priority for many organizations and current data shows that 80% of large employers offer workplace wellness programs. The benefits of a well-being program include enhanced morale, engagement, productivity and, of course, health. Comprehensive programs provide access to wellness services ranging from biometric screenings, health coaching and nutrition to physical activity, resilience, financial well-being and mental health support. Employees are an organization’s most valuable asset and taking care of their well-being will pay dividends for the overall health of the organization.
Due to an increase in the types of services and the number of providers offering wellness solutions, it can be difficult to determine which companies are true strategic partners and which are offering ‘nice to have’ as opposed to ‘need to have’ services. Finding partners to help your clients develop well-being programs that engage employees should not be a challenge. Knowing what to look for in a wellness partner can help you better understand the qualities necessary to choose a wellness provider that can best serve your clients and their employees. Look for these five qualities when choosing a wellness partner to recommend to your valued clients.
Foundation in Research
The best wellness vendors provide programs based on evidence-based practices and behavior change theory. Look for a partner that has independent certifications from reputable organizations such as NCQA and HiTrust. Recommendations and programs should be based on science from leading wellness organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Institutes of Health. Wellness vendors should also hire qualified professionals for the right ‘assignments.’ Ask potential vendors what types of health professionals they employ or contract with and what certifications they hold. For example, look for a vendor who hires registered dietitians to develop nutrition content and relies on certified personal trainers to develop their fitness programs.
User-Friendly, Accessible Technology
The effective use of technology is an important component of any wellness program. A great wellness vendor can provide an integrated, easy-to-use technology platform that increases employee engagement. Look for a vendor that offers a platform with both mobile and desktop options in multiple languages in order to be inclusive of your entire population. Platforms that are interactive, customizable, and have real-time reward tracking provide a positive user experience and increase participation in your wellness initiative. However, remember that technology provides the infrastructure for a successful program and does not suffice as the entire program.
High Degree of Customization
Your wellness partner should have the ability to thoroughly assess your client’s population through a variety of means and be able to adapt their approach to the organization's unique needs. Customizing shouldn't be limited to branding options on a portal – it should extend to all program components so they can be fine-tuned to meet the health needs of your employees and fit in with your client's culture and long-term goals. Developing content for dispersed populations, and approaches that are available online and offline for computer savvy employees as well as those without smart phones, is a must for many organizations.
Strong Strategic Approach
Your wellness partner should work with you to develop a comprehensive strategy to meet the goals and needs of your client’s wellness program. In efforts to keep all employees well and engaged, there should be a focus on delivering varying levels of wellness content. This may include webinars and virtual cooking demos, team activity challenges, and individual challenges, with a focus on a wide variety of content areas such as nutrition, physical activity, smoking cessation, financial wellness, mental health and stress management.
With that said, your wellness vendor should do more than just provide programs. Look for a partner who can provide strategic direction with a multi-year plan to help the program evolve. A great wellness vendor will include a dedicated account team who can provide hands-on support to help your client’s wellness program succeed and grow. The vendor should also be comfortable working with any existing vendors to provide a seamless experience for employees while increasing engagement with existing, and sometimes underutilized, resources.
Comprehensive Reporting Strategies
Don't underestimate the importance of evaluation for any wellness program. Wellness programs generate meaningful data and your client’s goals can be measured by carefully tracking this data. A great wellness partner will work with you and your client to understand their unique goals before developing a comprehensive reporting process that can help you monitor outcomes, track the impact on employee well-being, and justify the cost of the program by providing data on return (and value) on investment. Comprehensive reporting strategies will help your client gain the information needed to determine their program’s future path.
With these aspects in mind, evaluate which vendor will work best for your organization. An effective partnership with your wellness vendor can help you reach the ultimate goal of helping your employees improve their health and well-being.
Wellness Workdays helps organizations in all industries develop comprehensive, customized wellness programs. Our corporate wellness programs are organized and designed to support employees and their families as they adopt and sustain behaviors that reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance productivity and benefit the organization’s bottom line. Contact us if you’d like help developing a program for your workforce or if you want to enhance an existing program.