5 Best Practices of High-Performing Corporate Wellness Programs: Best Practice 3 – Seek Ongoing Outside Support
June 24, 2013 / Uncategorized
Corporations of all sizes are blazing a trail in the adoption of wellness programs and are reaping the rewards of higher levels of employee engagement and productivity. These benefits motivated a recent white paper, “Five Best Practices of High-Performing Corporate Wellness Programs” (free download: registration required).
This series draws on a wealth of experience, external research, and Virgin HealthMiles’ robust analysis of client data to outline the key factors within your organization that can drive your employees to enroll in, and stay engaged with, your workplace wellness programs.
Similar to having experienced internal staff dedicated to their wellness programs, companies with high-performing wellness initiatives constantly seek and apply support from outside experts and consultants.
Employers certainly know their workforce best, but experts and consultants who have experience with the design and implementation of successful wellness programs can keep you apprised of current trends and help design engagement strategies that will achieve your goals. A consultant can help benchmark your wellness program’s design and results compared with other companies in your industry, as well as among wellness programs in general.
Getting support from external experts you trust is especially important as wellness program plan designs become more complex.
Most wellness initiatives at larger organizations include:
- An increasing number of programs
- A wider range of incentives
- More-robust employee communication efforts
While the most successful wellness programs are broad enough to appeal and apply to everyone in an organization, they must also feature components that personalize the experience for participants.
A cookie-cutter approach to your wellness initiative won’t work. It’s bound to fail in fostering the level of ongoing engagement that’s necessary to sustain healthy lifestyles and program success. Instead, programs that drive sustained engagement and participation must take into account what your employees actually want.
For Janice, an employee of a leading health insurer, personalized feedback alerted her to a potentially serious health issue. She measured her blood pressure as part of her company’s wellness program and learned that she was suffering from hypertension.
“I’d never tracked my blood pressure before,” said Janice. “Like most people, I just went to the doctor once a year and never wrote it down. I don’t remember having any symptoms or anything. I was totally surprised that it was that high.”
It may be stating the obvious to say ease of use and ease of access are key drivers in getting your employees to join your wellness programs. What may be far less obvious is how to be sure your programs are easy to use and access. What metrics determine those standards and how do you gather and analyze them?
A provider like Virgin HealthMiles has the experience, knowledge, and skills to help you accurately and confidently know whether your employees feel your program is easy to enroll in and use and how likely they are to be engaged over time.
Did you know, for example, that a wellness program that requires its employees to visit a health club is less likely to succeed than one that does not? While health clubs will certainly appeal to some of your employees, they won’t appeal to all of them. Industry data shows that 85 percent of Americans do not belong to a gym, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
To have the broadest impact on your organization, your wellness programs must appeal to and be applicable to everyone. But how do you apply that to your organization? What programs and incentives do you use to reach each defined group of employees?
A preventive approach to wellness is key
It’s optimal to provide an overarching program that engages and influences the vast majority of your population — one that’s designed with the consumer in mind and gives your employees choices that allow them to participate in ways that work best for them.
Part of implementing successful wellness programs includes making sure you’re offering a range of motivators and incentives to drive adoption and ongoing participation. Not everyone is motivated by the same factors and what motivates someone one day might not motivate them the next.
With the right mix of motivators and the right levels of incentives — accurately guided by plan design knowledge and experience — offering incentives with your wellness programs creates a win-win for both your company and your employees. Your company gains a greater return on investment from increased program participation (which can reduce health claims and absenteeism). Your employees gain immediate incentives to get started, and along with the benefits of the program, they gain the motivation that keeps them engaged and helps them sustain their new healthy habits over time.
Have an example of how your company has managed to keep its employees engaged in a workplace wellness program? Leave a comment below.