I recently read an article from SelfHelpWorks called “US Wellness Program Considerations for 2019”.1With a fresh new year ahead of us and learnings from the last planted in our minds, articles such as this one provide me with a great perspective on employers’ thoughts about their wellness programs. From my seat, SelfHelpWorks articulates what I see and hear from customers frequently. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to talk about things employers might consider for 2019 and beyond.
As employer-based wellness programs evolve, employers should strive to achieve a model that addresses overall health and well-being. Check out WELCOA’s Definition of Wellness or the National Wellness Institute’s Six Dimensions of Wellness for guidance. If your program isn’t checking more than one of the dimension boxes, it’s time to consider balancing your model with resources and support outside of that box.
If the wellness model is to evolve into each dimension, it will need the support of many stakeholders. We’re all aware that traditionally the ownership of employee wellness has been a human resources initiative, coupled with leadership support. Research suggests that many stakeholders across the organization should own and be responsible for the success of the wellness model. I like this. Think about it—when an organization releases a new product to market, every individual within the organization is responsible for the success of that product release. The wellness program doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t be, any different. Bottom line, when all stakeholders are at the table, your opportunities to improve engagement and build a culture of well-being increase dramatically.
Here’s a formula for your consideration when planning your wellness efforts. Personalization + Choice + Reward = Engagement.
You can read a lot about the value and effect of personalization. From the digital experience to programs for specific health conditions, consumers demand personalization. A tailored experience is the only one they’re interested in.
They also want choice. If the organization’s goal is to address diabetes and I am an employee with diabetes, I expect options to help me. While this may seem like an exhaustive effort on the employer’s part, it doesn’t have to be. Expanding your offerings little by little, or whittling down your offerings to those employees value the most is a worthwhile exercise. While access to a Certified Diabetes Educator may be desired by one employee, another may find that a support group appeals to them.
Rewards have proven to be effective in encouraging one-time action. A reward is helpful in encouraging participants to make a move, and that may be all. And that’s okay! Rewards are a powerful tool, but it’s important to consider that they are not the only tool you have.
It’s my belief that a personalized experience with choice and appropriate reward will increase engagement. Want proof? Think of something you’ve stuck with. Can you apply this formula to it?
And finally, let’s talk about telling your story. If there is one thing that surprised me from the SelfHelpWorks article, it’s that “the majority of organizations either don’t calculate the ROI of their wellness initiatives or aren’t sure if it’s measured at all.” SelfHelpWorks states that an obvious reason for ROI variations is that wellness programs and their components are not all created equal and may differ greatly in efficacy. And then there are all the things you can’t measure, such as industry, corporate culture, and demographics. So the question is, how will you tell your story? You want to retain or increase your funding, so what metrics can you compile to do that in the most effective way? I urge you to consider balancing your data story, just as I suggested with your wellness model. Leverage anything you can get your hands on to do this. From employee testimonials, medical data, retention data, productivity statistics, morale, and direct employee feedback, you have tools to craft your story. You are doing great things! So how can you tell that story in an impactful and meaningful way?
These are considerations for 2019 and beyond. The New Year provides a great opportunity to reflect on your prior success and challenge yourself for the future. You can do this!
 https://www.welcoa.org/blog/definition-of-wellness/  Available for download at https://www.nationalwellness.org/page/nwi_tools  Available for download at https://corp.selfhelpworks.com/  Available for download at https://corp.selfhelpworks.com/
ABOUT BROOKE KELLY
Brooke Kelly leads the Client Health Promotion Team at Blue Cross NC. She enjoys teaching personal resilience workshops and helping employers succeed with their worksite wellness offerings. Brooke loves watching football, traveling, and spending time outside with her son and daughter.