Corporate wellness programs can be a useful tool to reduce healthcare costs for both companies and their employees. Setting corporate wellness programs up for success allows both parties to experience the return on investment.
It's important to have a framework for success around wellness programs to both drive the construction of the program and the employee engagement component. Here are our three tips for corporate wellness program success.
Understand Why Wellness Programs Matter
Healthcare is often the number one benefit cost for an organization. As plan and premium costs rise for both companies and employees, both sides must work together to create a healthy environment.
Given the rising costs of healthcare, according to a recent UBS Health survey, most corporations are moving from a volume based wellness reimbursement for things like a gym and out-of-pocket costs, to a value based model. This holds employees accountable for their own health, but will require adjustment for everyone. The faster that adjustment can happen, the more valuable wellness programs will become.
Focus on Meeting Employee Needs
Employee wellness programs should focus on employees. It seems obvious but it’s important to keep in mind that while your company needs to focus on ROI for the program, the investment itself needs to be guided by the needs of employees. This requires a gathering if data. You need to know where your program’s focus should be:
- Is it on fitness?
- Is it on prevention of chronic conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol?
- Is it about tracking progress from an unhealthy state to healthy living?
- Is it about healthy eating?
Surveying employees in a confidential way is critical in ensuring you have the data you need to make your organization’s corporate wellness program successful for both your company and, most importantly its employees.
When employee needs are identified, the focus of the program becomes clear. The focus should both serve employees and the company. For example, Johnson & Johnson focused their corporate wellness initiatives around smoking cessation. By focusing on one prevalent component of both employee health and healthcare cost, J&J was able to reduce smokers in their plan population by two thirds and recognize a $250 per employee decrease in corporate healthcare costs. The focus of the program allowed it to be successful and identifying the greatest need of your population can help pinpoint where your program should be focused.
Make Technology a Positive Influence
Using technology to either collect survey information or track progress in the context of a corporate wellness program can be both helpful and considered a breach of employee privacy.
Since it is such a valuable asset to your program success, putting a positive spin on the use of technology and ensuring anonymity in information collection are both really important in wellness program implementation. Anonymity allows your program administrator to create an information infrastructure that can be built upon to inform the program without the fear violating employee privacy.
Corporate wellness programs are a balance between investment and return, employee needs and those of the organization and gathering information to drive success without violating privacy. Understanding the importance of the program and investing the right amount of time in implementing a corporate wellness program with the components to ensure success for both your company and your employees.