by Dr. Eric Wall | May 13, 2015 at 6:00 am
An increasing number of employers are offering worksite wellness programs, and such programs can be effective.
Wellness professionals at UnitedHealthcare estimate 15 percent of employees are motivated to live a healthy lifestyle, while the other 85 percent need a nudge.
The good news is wellness programs not only appeal to both groups, but they may offer a sound return on investment for the companies that offer them.
Successful worksite wellness programs help improve employees’ health and productivity and reduce medical costs for employees and the company.
The Wellness Council of America states workplace wellness programs are a wise investment to address rising healthcare costs and help improve employee’s health and well-being.
Here are 10 tips for employers on implementing an effective wellness program:
- Understand your workforce: Review past insurance claims data, employee surveys and health assessments to select wellness programs that address your employees’ most common health challenges.
- Create a plan: Develop a detailed plan that outlines short- and long-term objectives, budgets and expected outcomes.
- Include rather than exclude: Make wellness activities available for all employees and spouses/domestic partners.
- Offer biometric screenings: Biometric screenings give employees a better snapshot of their current health. Screenings held onsite at the workplace and at health fairs encourage more employees to participate.
- Select wellness champions: A wellness committee with “wellness champions” will help drive your wellness program. Choose leaders within the organization who are respected by their peers. Make champion status an honor, and others will want to serve.
- Communicate: Use email, promotional fliers and in-person meetings to communicate your wellness programs. Messages from executives will demonstrate leadership support and likely improve participation in the wellness program.
- Offer incentives: Participation in wellness programs significantly increases when employers offer employees incentives. Incentives can include gift cards, lower health insurance premiums, cash bonuses and discounts on various health products and services.
- Provide employees with digital tools: Digital tools, online, mobile and tablet, help employees keep track of their healthcare costs and become more-informed healthcare consumers.
- Track results: Evaluate your wellness program each year. Work with your health plan to measure the impact on employee engagement and medical costs.
- Solicit feedback: Be flexible and listen to your employees on how to improve the program for next year.
Design a program that identifies individuals with health risks or who are facing a complex healthcare decision. The program should capture data points, such as medical claims, lab results and pharmacy data. Then it synchronizes them with evidence-based medicine rules and each individual’s health status and requirements.
The goal is to build personalized health management solutions that help each person receive the right care, find the right provider, take the right medication and live the right lifestyle for his or her own health situation.
Good workplace wellness programs can help a company reduce and manage healthcare costs.
Good workplace wellness programs can help a company reduce and manage healthcare costs. The real pluses of this corporate effort are the increase in employees’ work satisfaction and overall morale and improvement in their well-being and quality of life.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Wall is market medical director at UnitedHealthcare of Oregon.
This article was originally published by Portland Business Journal. You can see the original article here: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/health-care-inc/2015/05/ten-tips-for-a-successful-workplace-wellness.html