Workplace Wellness: Benefits Of Results-Oriented Wellness Programs

Wellness programs can significantly decrease the costs of health care when implemented successfully. But do you know that there are three different kinds of wellness programs and out of them the least commonly proposed type, a results-oriented wellness program, has actually been demonstrated “most” effective? Read on to know more about the advantages of a results-oriented wellness program. Also, tips for successfully designing as well as implementing one.

Types of Wellness Programs

1. Activity-oriented

  • Combines awareness with participation in healthy activities
  • Examples: weight-loss challenges, walking programs, free/discounted gym memberships
  • Generally, award some type of participation incentive
  • Usually, leads to some health care savings, but could take three or more years to break even or realize a positive return on investment

2. Awareness-oriented

  • Provides information and resources to help employees learn about healthy lifestyle choices
  • Emphasizes education and awareness, not actual activity or behavior
  • Tends to be most appealing to already health-conscious individuals, so generally ineffective for reducing health care costs

3. Results-oriented

  • Focuses on measurable outcomes and behavior changes achieved through the program
  • Also, includes components of awareness- and activity-based programs
  • If paired with strong incentives, this type has the ability to produce significant return on investment through lower health care costs, decreased absenteeism and fewer workers’ compensation incidents

Components Of Successful Programs

  • Health risk appraisal – This helps identify risk areas to focus on.
  • Health testing – Such testing measures weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, blood lipids, etc. and provides a benchmark for goals to improve these factors.
  • Incentives – Offer monetary or other significant rewards for participation in certain activities or for achieving specific accomplishments within the wellness program.
  • Education – Give employees access to information regarding healthy eating, exercising, quitting smoking, losing weight and other healthy living topics.
  • High participation rates – Use marketing, incentives as well as other strategies to enhance participation rates and further drive the most return on investment.
  • Frequent contact – Distribute posters, emails, bulletin board reminders, etc. to keep employees aware of the program.
  • Family participation – Support and encourage family members to participate, making it easier for the employees to strive toward a healthier lifestyle.
  • Exercise – Consider granting on-site workout facilities or discounted gym memberships to encourage regular physical activity.
  • Smoking cessation – Offer a smoking cessation program within your wellness program to help combat one of the leading health risks among employees.
  • Flexibility – Allow flexibility in setting your objectives/standards so that employees can have personalized programs that address their most pressing risk factors.

Getting Started

  • Put together a wellness team: A team effort is important so that enough resources are available to successfully design, implement, administer and monitor the program.
  • Seek executive approval: No good program will get off the ground without buy-in from your company’s executives. Strong senior-level support is the foundation for building a solid, effective wellness program.
  • Build a plan: Design a very specific wellness program based on your company’s size, needs, and financial situation. You’ll need to decide what incentives to offer, which health initiatives to emphasize, what programs to offer, etc.
  • Follow up as well as evaluate: Once your program is executed, observe participation rates and progress to make sure it is on the right track. If not, aspects of the program may need to be changed or revamped. Only by continuing to evaluate the program will your company be able to achieve their maximum return on investment.

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