Friday, March 13, 2015

Characteristics of Successful Wellness Programs, Part 2

As healthcare costs continue to escalate, a number of organizations are turning to wellness programs as a solution. As expressed in part 1 of this article, wellness programs are proven to be an effective tool in reducing healthcare costs, boosting company moral and improving employee assurance.

Unfortunately, there are some challenges associated with implementing workplace wellness programs including low participation and engagement. To help OSH professionals as well as their employees overcome these challenges, Don Powell, president and CEO of American Institute for Preventive Medicine, has identified 20 characteristics for successful employee wellness programs:

11) Lifestyle programs. Engage employee through health coaching, self-help programs and small group programs.

12) Provide health coaching. Coaching can be done over the phone, via email, one-on-one or in small groups.

13) Offer self-help programs. Self-help programs and interactive kits can help employees change their behavior in the privacy of their own homes on their own time, Powell says. 

14) Offer group programs. Despite the difficulty of getting people together regularly, there is a place for group programs including monthly/bi-monthly lunch-and-learns or health-seminars and exercise clubs.

15) Online wellness challenges. Some successful wellness programs have been able to leverage the power of social networking and reach employees across multiple worksite locations. 

16) Medical self-care. Teach employees to make better decisions when it comes to their health by teaching them the difference between symptoms that require professional assistance versus symptoms can be treated at home.

17) Education. Communicate wellness messages in a variety of creative ways. “The more you can package health information in novel ways, the more likely you are to get engagement,” Powell says. “Packaging health information in unusual ways can capture people’s attention.”

18) Provide appropriate program materials. Regardless of the audience, wellness materials should be written at a sixth grade reading level. People are often short on time, so simpler is better, Powell says.

19) Rewards. Rewards are more consistent with creating a health-partnership culture, says Powell. Incentives should fit with the workplace culture.

20) Reporting. Successful workplace wellness programs determine the value of what they have done and determine what the data means in relation to the program’s objectives. Consider looking at other measures, such as creating a more positive workforce or seeing wellness as a way to attract employees, says Powell.

Powell suggests these tips can aid organizations in the development and implementation of a high-performing, wellness program.

Learn more characteristics of successful wellness programs.