Successful wellness programs decrease absenteeism, reduce healthcare costs, improve employee productivity, and more. Current data shows that over 80% of large employers offer some form of wellness program. The most successful wellness programs derive from a strategic approach and direction. They promote employee engagement and positive behavior change through assessment, strategy, implementation, and evaluation. Read on to understand the details of a successful program.
Assessment: Any new initiative needs to assess the current population and workplace culture. It is important to know what employees are interested in before rolling out a program to ensure participation and program engagement. A wellness program should fit seamlessly into workplace culture and values. It is critical to collect company data, such as: employee demographics, health risks, biometric data, wellness habits, chronic disease rates, and presenteeism and absenteeism rates. Surveying employees to understand readiness to change, interest in wellness activities, and perceptions of your organizational culture can also support your initiative. To determine key areas of focus for the wellness program, collect aggregate baseline data on emerging health conditions by conducting health risk assessments and biometric screenings. Additionally, incentivized employee interest surveys are an excellent tool to give employees a voice and gather data and information.
Strategy: After assessment, strategy allows you to develop a vision and brand, and set goals and objectives. To stay organized and have a clear direction to follow, consider creating a detailed operating plan. Many strategic plans set baseline goals for improving biometrics, increasing employee engagement, and reducing specific health risks (for example: stress and burnout). For the greatest cost savings, your strategic plan should target the top 15 cost risks, including physical inactivity, high total cholesterol, high blood pressure, among others. Keep in mind that human behavior accounts for 40% of risk of all premature, preventable death – such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer in the United States. Having a system in place to support behavior change, such as an on-site health coach, can be a catalyst for change in your population. Another critical piece during strategy development is to gain support from leadership in the company through training and education on the benefits of an employee wellness program. This will help gain traction as you move into the next step: implementation.
Implementation: When rolling out a program, you need to attract employees in all areas of wellness. Successful programming includes physical well-being and lifestyle, mental and emotional health, financial well-being, and has a social and purpose-driven element. Key components to implementation include communications, incentives, utilizing technology, and branding.
Communications: Identifying your target audience and creating purposeful communications can support your programming and initiatives. Consider the best media approaches for employees, what employees are in-person, hybrid, or remote , and the budget and in-house capabilities you have available.
Incentives: Incentives are one of the best ways to support your wellness program and increase employee engagement (also see: 3 Things to Consider When it Comes to Employee Wellness Incentives). Options to consider are material incentives, insurance premium discounts, paid time off, or subsidized gym memberships.
Technology and Branding: Technology can support biometrics tracking, a health coaching platform, a personal health assessment, team and individual wellness challenges, and instant gratification through real-time reward tracking. Developing a strong brand for your wellness program to include with technology and communications establishes a sense of dedication and a cohesive program.
Evaluation: Once you have implemented your wellness program, collecting and analyzing data will help you understand both effectiveness and efficiency. Your evaluation should answer the following questions: What is the value of your wellness program? Did you meet each of your goals and objectives? Was the program worth the cost? Which parts of the program should be continued, changed, or eliminated? A routine data collection system of important indicators can include employee participation, data from pre-/post- program questionnaires, analysis of cost savings (claims, disability, retention, etc.), and aggregate data from Health Risk Assessments and biometric screenings.
Bottom line: Developing the process for well-being outcomes can lead to a successful wellness program to meet the needs of your organization. Assessment, strategy, implementation, and evaluation are four components that will lead to outcomes. Wellness Workdays can help you design a program that works for your organization, budget, and needs. Contact us for more information.
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