by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

As you approach fall planning period, a review of past, present, and future opportunities can enhance the process and boost participation. We’ve brainstormed some questions for you to consider.

Past products
Wellness programs and services have a life cycle just like commercial products — they go through introduction, growth, plateau, and decline phases. Review activities that were successful several years ago but have fallen off the wellness agenda. Then ask:

  • What made them successful?
  • Do you still see health concerns that warrant a similar program or service?
  • Can you simply repackage the concept, update the content, and offer the product as a new program or service?

Current markets
Health promoters often fail to exploit successful programs and services. If you’ve received rave reviews in a certain area, do you:

  • Use the momentum to reach new people by highlighting the positive feedback in promotions?
  • Encourage satisfied participants to recruit new people with incentives?
  • Offer additional opportunities to satisfied participants while their success is still fresh?
  • Look for ways to present a successful program or service to different target groups by repackaging the promotional materials to match their needs?
  • Break apart program components and offer them a la carte or reconfigure parts of several programs into a new offering?
  • Try to identify new uses for the same programs?

Participants and potential participants
We’re big supporters of participant feedback — in all areas of wellness. Have you asked participants and potential participants:

  • What they want before you decide what they need?
  • How you can attract more of their colleagues?
  • Which promotions entice the most?
  • How well past involvement has met their needs?

New product development
Mature wellness programs have the ongoing challenge of creating fresh programming that serves a real need. Do you:

  • Review commercial health promotion products and services regularly for potential purchase or ideas for creating an in-house version?
  • Exchange program ideas and materials with other wellness managers?
  • Meet with your organization’s product development and marketing people to see if they use techniques adaptable to wellness?
  • Interview new employees before they’ve been exposed to your services to get an unbiased view of their needs?
  • Explore other service industry innovations for potential adaptation to your programs?

Before heading into day-long planning meetings, review these questions. If you haven’t addressed them, use the answers to help in your planning. In some cases the process will lead to a 2012 goal that in turn will help you with plans for 2013 and beyond.

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