Selecting the Right Interventions for your Wellness Program

In our previous discussion, we focused on creating an action plan designed to best address the findings of your internal assessment by creating a wellness committee, hiring a wellness coach, and focusing on small, daily behaviors in your workplace. This week, we will continue designing your wellness program by identifying the right interventions for your organization and action plan.

Reducing and Avoiding Risk

There are two main types of directly measurable benefits from a wellness program: reducing existing risks (e.g. reducing current healthcare costs) and avoiding added risks (e.g. preventing a rise in healthcare costs.) In a typical organization without a wellness program, low risk populations tend to naturally become high risk populations over time.

The same can be said for healthcare costs – as these low risk populations become high risk, costs tend to increase from low to high. In order to be most effective, your wellness program must be carefully designed to reverse this natural process by both reducing existing risks (bringing high risk populations down to low risk) and avoiding added risks (preventing both low and high risk populations from increasing their risk further.)

Depending on your company vision, action plan, goals, leadership desires, intended outcomes, and the results of your internal assessment, targeting the correct populations in your wellness program will generate the desired results in regards to time, target population size, investment, breadth, and longevity. 

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Creating an Action Plan for your Wellness Program

 

Earlier in the week, we examined the first three steps to take to establish a corporate wellness program for your company: crafting your vision/purpose, obtaining leadership buy-in, and conducting an internal assessment. This week, we’ll discuss how to create your action plan moving forward. 

Develop a Wellness Committee

After the internal assessment, the next step in creating your company wellness program is to determine your best path of action. The goals of your path of action are to best address the findings of your internal assessment and to execute the business strategy outlined by company leadership. 

A valuable method to gain support and make the process smoother is to create a wellness committee that is representative of all groups in your company, including leadership. Additionally, engage your health insurance provider to see what types of benefits, incentives, or discounts may be offered toward a company wellness program. 

Hire a Wellness Coach

Also, consider utilizing an outside wellness provider to bring support in from day one. Begin by making a roll-out plan that creates awareness in your employee population of your current risk status obtained in your internal assessment. 

Conduct health risk assessments, health screenings, and/or take different measurements with health coaches to physically show your employees and health risks they may have. For example, waist circumference has been generally linked to higher cardiovascular disease risk in many populations. Having an outside coach conduct waist circumference measurements for employees is a simple, quick, noninvasive method of raising health risk awareness in your employee community. 

Another plan of action could involve engaging with a health coach. By having employees meet with a health coach and setting a goal, the chance of success is doubled by bringing in outside support and obligation. These efforts also create a sense of community in which individuals’ health and wellness efforts thrive and help them work towards their goals together as a collective group, rather than a bunch of individuals trying to become healthier on their own. 

Focus on Small, Daily Behaviors

Your path of action may also be behaviorally-oriented, focusing on the small, daily behaviors that your employees engage in and refocusing them toward a healthier goal. For example, encourage employees to use a pedometer and figure out how many daily steps they are currently taking. Then, promote an area-wide increase of 250 steps above each individual’s daily amount. Or, simply encourage employees to not gain weight. Rather than losing weight, which takes significantly more effort, employees can notice the efficacy of their simple, small effort that has a powerful effect on their health risk status. 

Taking small initial steps in a roll-out plan designed to raise awareness and address the findings of your internal assessment will gradually encourage a smooth shift of employee habits and mindsets towards a healthier, more robust wellness program. Again, outside consultants are available to help nail down the best, most comprehensive path of action, provide a human element, and to promote longevity in your wellness program.

In the next article in this series, look forward to a more in-depth look at different wellness programs, committees, interventions, and strategies, such as individual wellness coaching, wellness challenges, mindfulness and meditation offerings, and other more robust, engaging wellness initiatives. For more information on implementing a wellness program, give us a call today.

Analyzing Your Corporate Wellness Program

Last week, we examined the first two steps to take to establish a corporate wellness program for your company. This week, we’ll discuss how to conduct an internal assessment of any current wellness initiatives. 

After you craft your vision and find the underlying purpose of your wellness program, it is crucial to conduct an internal assessment of your company in order to evaluate where it currently stands in regards to current wellness offerings, leadership buy-in, and employee buy-in. This will provide you with a starting point that will help dictate your overall path of action. A solid understanding of your starting point is necessary because wellness programs take time, often 3-4 years for a positive return. 

Evaluate Current Wellness Initiatives

Begin your internal assessment by evaluating what current wellness initiatives or incentive programs, if any, are offered by your company and how effective they are at achieving your purpose. Consider if any of these initiatives are already time-proven and ingrained into the culture of your company. 

If a current wellness offering or incentive program is already enjoyed by many employees, consider building upon it or improving it instead of upsetting others and removing it. Another key part of your internal assessment is assessing and understanding the health risks present in your company and culture. 

Some of these risks may include obesity, long sedentary hours, or high cholesterol levels across many employees. Conducting a health risk assessment is a great way to obtain presentable data that may reveal prevalent, unexpected health risks that may be a result of your workplace culture. Outside resources are also available to help provide Comprehensive Organizational Wellness Assessment (COWA). 

Assess Your Work Environment

Moving forward, it is also necessary to assess the work environment and culture and whether they reinforce or hurt a wellness initiative. For example, are pizza and donuts provided in your break room? Or do you provide healthy and nutritious snacks? In order to effectively reduce health risk, the goal is to provide healthy and nutritious foods that employees would take advantage of. 

Look at all of your traditional and emergent cultural aspects of your company and how they might drive one to lead a healthy versus unhealthy lifestyle. Finally, one of the most important aspects of the internal assessment is to talk to people! Form focus groups, design a survey, talk to employees at lunch time, and, most importantly, talk to as many people as possible. 

Form representative groups of employees and leadership from all areas of your organization and obtain their SPECIFIC, qualitative feedback in regards to your current wellness initiatives and what they want! Listen to these people and obtain valuable data that provides insight into what wellness offerings are most desired in your company. 

Armed with leadership and employee buy-in, a solid starting point and vision, and meaningful data, the internal assessment will ensure that you take the best plan of action in regards to your company goals, employee needs and wants, and resources available.

 

In our next piece, we’ll look at how to create an action plan to implement a wellness program. For more information on implementing a wellness program, give us a call today.

Taking the First Step: An Introduction to Starting a Corporate Wellness Program

Take a moment to consider your company and what is being done to promote health and wellness among its employees. 

Does your company have an employee wellness program? If so, do you experience aspects of this wellness program on a daily basis? Company wellness programming encompasses a wide range of degrees of implementation, from simple, bare-bones health initiatives like a no-smoking policy to complex, company-wide solutions that integrate health and wellness into the culture of the organization across all levels. 

Even if your company has never considered a wellness program, it is important to understand that the health and wellness of your employees will always be affected in some way, whether positively or negatively, by your company, the way it operates, and the ensuing workplace culture that develops. 

It is up to you to decide how you would like your company to affect the health and wellbeing of the individuals that it consists of. 

A Quick Overview

Different aspects of wellness programs, such as no-smoking policies, have become increasingly common, especially in the past 20 years. Additionally, people have become increasingly familiar with health and wellness in the workplace, leading to a solid foundation of research that sufficiently demonstrates the benefits of wellness programs. 

Many people already understand the value and benefits of wellness programs and may have already begun to add pieces of their own, but are ready to be strategic and create a more comprehensive, lasting program. For a deeper look into the research and statistics supporting company wellness programs, click here, here, and here

In this new series of articles, we will lead you through the process of corporate wellness programming, guiding you step-by-step from the initial decision to implement health and wellness initiatives to promoting longevity after the successful integration of a company-wide wellness program. Whether your company has yet to consider a wellness program or has been reaping the benefits of one for years, follow along for an in-depth guide to company wellness programming. 

The first step of the company wellness program creation process is carried out by the leader of the company and/or the individual given responsibility for the design of the wellness program. This first step can be broken down into three components: crafting your vision/purpose, obtaining leadership buy-in, and conducting an internal assessment. 

Crafting Your Vision

First, begin crafting your company vision by defining what you want your company and workplace culture to look like and finding the overall purpose of your wellness program. Some common purposes behind wellness programs that leaders may seek are financial benefits, a moral obligation, productivity benefits, promoting creativity, and fostering a more interactive workplace community. 

Some may choose to envision a company where standing desks and a company cafeteria promote a healthy, nutritious lifestyle in the workplace, while others may focus on risk reduction via flu vaccines and bi-annual health screenings. No matter what you choose as your vision and purpose, this step is important to establish a starting foundation of which to build off. 

Obtaining Leadership Buy-In

For individuals tasked with or interested in starting a wellness program, focus on obtaining these answers and buy-in from leadership. Before designing an actual program, company leadership must express buy-in to a wellness program from a conceptual, financial, and participation standpoint. 

Conceptual buy-in can be obtained through crafting your vision and finding your purpose, while financial and participation buy-in can be obtained through an internal assessment.

In the next article in this series, we’ll discuss how to conduct an internal assessment of any current wellness programs. For more information on implementing a wellness program, give us a call today