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Five Best Practices of High-Performing Corporate Wellness Programs: Best Practice 2 – Have Experienced Staff Dedicated to Your Wellness Programs

June 19, 2013 / Corporate Wellness

Corporations of all sizes are blazing trails, adopting wellness programs and 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. 

We recently took a detailed look at several clients and found that those with high-performing wellness programs had dedicated, experienced staff to specifically administer and manage their successful implementations.

One of the greatest challenges employers face with employee wellness programs is sustaining participation levels long after the excitement of the launch has died down.

Programs that feature structured, ongoing competitions have proved to build camaraderie and increase activity levels in wellness programs. Anecdotal evidence, meanwhile, shows competitions generate a buzz among employees that can drive ongoing program engagement and participation.

Managing competitions that will appeal to the various segments of your population — and diligently working to keep competitions fresh and meaningful — requires the focus and time of internal staff dedicated to your wellness initiatives.  On-site staff to support wellness programs is essential for larger organizations, especially if they have employees in regional, remote, or satellite facilities.

Ochsner Health System operates eight hospitals and 38 clinics throughout Louisiana and has over 10,000 employees. When Ochsner replaced its homegrown, manual wellness program with the more integrated and accessible HealthMiles program, its wellness team employed a multi-pronged communications campaign.

That effort by Ochsner Health System, conducted by its dedicated staff, included:

  • Visits to each satellite clinic, where wellness team members staffed information tables in high-traffic areas
  • The creation of a section on the system’s internal website that’s dedicated to the Virgin HealthMiles initiative and includes weekly tips on how to join and earn HealthMiles

With the campaign led by dedicated staff, and with significant incentives in place, Ochsner’s participation rate jumped to 78 percent of eligible employees within three months of the Virgin HealthMiles launch and gradually rose to nearly 90 percent, compared with 30 to 40 percent participation with previous programs.

“We were blown away by the participation,” said Dorothy Fain, R.N., the system coordinator for Ochsner’s Employee Wellness program. “In a few months, we had doubled participation rates from the previous year.”

The program’s evolved since its launch. Having a dedicated team has allowed Ochsner to take greater advantage of working hand-in-hand with our team to adapt the initiative to the healthcare system’s changing needs and to optimize its design to continue engaging employees.

A dedicated staff is critical if you want to employ a variety of strategies to keep wellness programs top of mind for your employees so that you get the kind of long-term participation that leads to healthy lifestyles.

Have an example of how your company has managed to keep you engaged in a workplace wellness program? We encourage you to leave a comment below.

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