Workplace Wellness: Top 4 Elements of a Successful Wellness Program
Developing a successful wellness program is not something that can be accomplished overnight or without a well-thought-out plan. A strategic approach to wellness that promotes employee engagement and desired outcomes must involve this four-step process: assessment, strategy, implementation, and evaluation.
To develop a successful wellness program, you need to answer two questions: what areas of wellness are your employees interested in and what health risks are most prevalent in your employee population? The more data you can gather the more relevant your program will be to your employees.
When answering the first question, you will need to use Health Risk Assessments, biometric data, and insurance claims. You may be surprised by what the data reveals. To gather information for the second question, ask your employees to complete a needs and interest survey. It’s important that your strategy includes both the health risks of your population and the health behaviors they are interested in improving. If your program addresses both questions, your participation and engagement rates will be higher. Why go through the time and expense of implementing a fitness challenge when your employees want to learn about proper nutrition and better sleep health? Aligning your program with your employees’ needs and interests will yield the best results.
The first element to embrace in your program strategy is gathering senior-level support. These executives control the finances, your organization’s agenda, and all of the communication channels. Because of these realities, succeeding long-term without senior-level support is virtually impossible.
The next step in your strategy should be developing a cohesive program for your employees. When developing your wellness program, it’s important to decide on the type of wellness program that will work for your organization’s culture, workforce, resources available, and constraints you need to work within (time, budget, staff, etc.).
Finally, focus on developing a plan for your wellness program. A thorough plan will include a vision or mission statement, program goals and specific objectives, implementation and timeline specifics, marketing and communications plans, an itemized budget, and a plan to evaluate program efforts.
Intervention planning is a process that should be tied to data and evaluation. Tie your programming decisions back to the data you collected in your assessment. Programs must meet your organization’s needs as well as the interests of your employees. Be sure to consider the health and wellness interests of your employees selected in the surveys and the health needs and risks of your population from claims data. It’s also important to assess your employees – do you need to accommodate employees who work different shifts, is your population diverse in terms of job function and education, are you trying to engage a population that is dispersed across various locations throughout the country? The answers to these questions will determine the type of programs you should offer and how your program should be implemented.
You also need to have an effective communication strategy. Employees can’t engage in your wellness program if they don’t know you offer one. The number one reason employees do not participate in the workplace wellness program is that they did not know about it. You need to let your employees know what you are going to do to help keep them healthy. A few things to consider are: how you are going to roll out the program, what will be involved, and how they can participate. Make sure to communicate in all forms — email, flyers, newsletters, postcards sent to their home address, etc. Your communications should include the overall goals of your program in addition to the specific wellness offerings. Clearly explain your program and its benefits and make it easy to participate.
4. Evaluation It’s hard to measure the success of a program if you aren’t tracking anything. Take the time to evaluate your wellness program. Wellness programs generate meaningful data so that your organization’s goals can be measured by carefully tracking this data. The data can also be used to help you improve future programming and increase engagement, participation, and results. You will gain a wealth of knowledge that will help you determine your program’s future path.
The ultimate goal is to develop and implement an employee well-being initiative that is both sustainable and successful. Wellness Workdays develops and implements strategic wellness programs for organizations across the country. We have years of experience designing programs that are both engaging and successful. Contact us to learn more.