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Motivate, Manage, Measure

September 29, 2010 / Corporate Wellness

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with more than a hundred companies on their employee health initiatives. In my conversations with many of them, it’s clear most have faced the same hurdles with their past employee health programs: how to get employees to participate, how to keep them engaged over time, and how to quantifiably measure the impact of their efforts.

In our experience, three key ideas are critical to the success of a program: motivate, measure, and manage. Your program must motivate employees to join, and keep them motivated over time. Be sure it appeals and applies to the majority of your workforce, instead of targeting a particular group. Offer an overarching, prevention-based program as the centerpiece of your wellness initiatives, and be sure it utilizes a variety of motivational strategies to keep everyone engaged. What motivates one employee is not necessarily going to motivate another, and what motivates them this year may not have the same effect next year.

In terms of measurement, look for a program that provides a way for you to point to quantifiable improvements in employee health which ties to your bottom line. Without that, it’s going to be difficult for these programs to remain a priority. Look for programs rooted in technology that capture validated health behavior data. Only this way will you know that you’re shifting health outcomes in the right direction. This kind of verifiable data will also provide you with the necessary information to measure the impact of the program.

Armed with this information, you’ll be in a better position to manage your overall health care strategies. You’re better prepared to inform senior management about health and productivity improvements; you can identify and integrate additional programs (for example, data shows that your employees have improved their overall physical activity levels, but employees are still overweight. Could the problem in the cafeteria? Time to integrate a nutrition program!); and you can reward those employees who are proving to take better care of themselves, thus reinforcing a workplace culture of prevention.

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