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.
Selecting the Right Strategy
In the short term, the quickest return on investment in the smallest amount of people comes from offering wellness programs that target high risk employees and work to help them avoid taking on new health risks. Although effective in the short term, this program may fall short in the long term because it does not address the low risk populations in your organization, which often have a natural tendency to become high risk over time.
For a greater total return on investment on more people in the medium term, offer wellness programming that targets both high risk and low risk employees and works to help both of these populations avoid taking on new health risks. This program will prove quite effective medium term, but falls short in reducing existing risks as covered previously.
For the most comprehensive, greatest total return on investment on the most people over the long term, offer wellness programs that target both high risk and low risk employees and work to help both of these populations avoid taking on new health risks as well as reduce existing health risks.
Selecting the right strategy, the right populations to target, and the right risks to reduce and/or avoid ultimately depends on the goals, capacity, intended outcomes, and possible limitations of your wellness program. The strategy you choose will dictate the specific robust wellness programs and initiatives that you will select to implement in order to most effectively achieve your desired outcome. For help selecting the right strategy for your wellness program, outside consultants are also available to help guide you towards ultimately achieving your program goals.
In our next discussion, we will continue selecting the right interventions for your wellness program by highlighting engaging wellness initiatives and helping you determine which may be the best fit for your chosen strategy. For more information on implementing a wellness program, give us a call today.