Evaluating Your Wellness Program: Best Practices
Wellness-driven employers understand the importance of evaluation and tracking various forms of data. To understand the impact your wellness program has on your organization, it is important to measure employee engagement, insurance claims, and biometric data, and health outcomes. Wellness programs have the potential to improve these metrics, but if you don’t track them, you won’t know if you’re maximizing your investment or how to improve your wellness program in the future. Employment outcomes data is needed to boost the success of your program and win new stakeholders. Data can be endless but consider the following data points to start maximizing your return on investment (ROI).
Participation and engagement:
Simply having a wellness program is a great start, but wellness won’t work if your employees are not actively engaging in wellness. Tracking engagement and participation should be done at all levels and be monitored throughout each intervention. Pre- and post-intervention surveys allow you to gather more information than number of participants. Collecting and analyzing this qualitative data can tell a more complete story and gather a deeper understanding on the effectiveness of a program. Finding the “why” behind the engagement (or lack of engagement) allows you to adjust marketing, programing, or any lacking element in the program. The same is true for overall wellness program participation.
Analyzing medical spends and claims data:
If prevention is truly the best medicine, allowing your wellness vendor to analyze your company’s medical spends and insurance data is critical for reducing costly insurance claims. A 2009 study found over 60% of plan sponsors pointed to wellness programs as the biggest healthcare cost containment strategy for the next 3-5 years. This information gives wellness professionals a clear and unbiased look at what is currently ailing your employees and what’s costing you additional money. Cost savings go much deeper than just prescriptions and sick time. Analyzing injuries and worker’s compensation data can help drive injury-prevention programs and keep workers safe and productive. Also consider the employee retention benefits and the cost associated with absenteeism, hiring, and training new employees. Thus, wellness programs can provide significant ROI when backed by data.
Biometrics and health outcomes:
If tracking medical spend allows you to get a current snapshot of your organization’s ailments, tracking biometrics and health outcomes can allow you to predict the short and long-term health of your employees. Identifying and tracking key biometric markers like blood pressure, cholesterol, A1c, and BMI (just to name a few) are valuable tools wellness professionals use to create comprehensive wellness programs. Monitoring these numbers are a great first step but having a complete health profile and health risk assessment data will allow your wellness vendor to target lifestyle choices that really drive key biometrics. For example, if you’re concerned about your employees’ blood pressure, but 80% of the employees are exceeding activity goals while working, it might make sense to examine nutrition versus activity.
Wellness-focused employers understand the importance of evaluation and tracking outcomes. At Wellness Workdays, we use a proprietary four-step process when developing comprehensive wellness programs: assessment, strategy, implementation, and evaluation. To understand if your wellness program is impacting your organization as intended, it is important to collect and measure the data. Analyzing this data will allow you to identify patterns or trends that will direct your next move and allow your program to grow and be successful over time.