Are You Getting Returns from Your Wellness Program?
Modern life is full of a wide variety of daily stressors. From traffic, to the high costs of living, and obstinate children, we all have something to tackle. And while employment can be another source of stress, competitive employers seek to assist them in not only minimizing life’s stressors, but maximizing wellness. This is increasingly important as more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are Millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
“Millennials don’t view climbing the corporate ladder or owning tangible items (job title, house, salary, car, and the like) as success. According to the 2016 Millennial Survey by Deloitte, 16.8 percent of Millennials evaluate career opportunities by good work-life balance, followed by 13.4 percent who look for opportunities to progress and 11 percent who seek flexibility (i.e., remote working and flexible hours).”
Employers need to help enhance wellness programs to recruit and retain the best talent. A recent blog summarizing 45 successful corporate wellness programs included elements such as:
On-site gyms and poolsSubsidized or free meals and snacksA color-coded cafeteria to encourage more plants in employees’ dietsFree personal training sessions and group fitness classesUnlimited access to a mental health hotlineFunds to use towards the cost of insurance, copays, and prescription costs
But one thing all the programs seemed to lack is measurable results.
Establish Goals for Wellness Programs
In order to measure success of a program, you must first define what success is. “Improved health” is too vague of a goal to measure. Many employers want to spend less on healthcare, and measurable objectives like reducing obesity and smoking are clearly aligned with that goal. But wellness programs could also aim to improve morale.
Whatever the goals, wellness programs must be well thought out and monitored. For example, use positive reinforcement via incentives rather than punitive measures. And give those incentives to employees who exhibit behaviors that have a direct impact on meeting your goals, such as exercising regularly, and not smoking.
In a post, “14 Reasons Many Corporate Health and Wellness Programs Fail,” Dr. Steven Aldana, CEO of WellSteps writes, “To avoid failure, your wellness program should be easy to understand and follow. Registration for every event you do should be super easy… In other words, to have a successful program you need to remove all of the barriers to participation.”
In describing the shift from paper forms and printed materials, Dr. Aldana writes, “Whether on a computer or mobile device, it is a lot easier and more pleasant to participate than it used to be. Every corporate wellness program should be available on a computer and a mobile device.”
Use Data to Improve Program Management
Houston Methodist, member of the Fitbit Wellness community, gathers data to not only measure program return, but improve services delivered. Staff are categorized into different tracks like pregnant, nicotine-positive, high BMI or healthy, to name a few, so that each wellness program can be personally tailored. This is an example of more personalized experiences, one of the “8 Trends That Will Impact Worksite Wellness In 2018,” published in Forbes.
Track Participation and Other Data … Easily
It’s important to properly plan out your programs, including aligning objectives to desired outcomes. But you must gather the data in order to measure those outcomes. Be sure that you’re able to gather the necessary data in a straightforward, timely manner. Walking around the jobsite to interview each participation one-on-one isn’t effective or enjoyable for anyone.
Wellness programs need a robust online solution to manage their numerous components. You need technology to measure, organize, and launch programs, then continuously manage and improve them without hassle.
If you need assistance and/or technology to manage and measure your wellness program, WSI offers BriteProgram, an all-in-one app for deploying and tracking compliance and government programs. Please contact us for a free consultation.