9 Ways to Keep Your Wellness Program Strong

Learn from others’ successes by applying these ideas for fortifying wellness efforts:

  • Conduct and share program evaluations. Waiting until there’s a problem is too late. Identify what’s important to you and your stakeholders as well as program strengths and areas of improvement through regular evaluations. Share findings from management on down.
  • Look at all economic variables. Focusing your program on just 1 or 2 of the organization’s financial concerns puts it at risk, because the value will be measured only on success in those areas. Identify any economic variable that can be influenced by wellness and offer strategies to positively influence trends.
  • Include consumer health education. Wellness is not just reducing risk factors. Address issues related to empowered healthcare consumerism by teaching employees how to use their benefits wisely. They need to understand the economic impact of worker health and safety behaviors on the bottom line and on their success.
  • Build an interdependent program infrastructure. Program components should be interconnecting pieces of a larger picture. Capitalize on information generated by all initiatives. Connect and integrate internal resources such as the HRA, coaching activities, online resources, and vendor services.
  • Maintain consistent communication with key stakeholders. Identify all groups affected by the wellness program, then give them what they want in a forum where they’ll be most receptive. Customize communications, keep them clear and concise, and provide them regularly.
  • Focus on needs. Define program elements important to target audiences, operational considerations, and goals. Incorporate these needs in your program design and highlight what links them to organization and individual success.
  • Develop a long-range strategic plan. Develop a 3-5 year plan that answers these questions: What needs to be accomplished to get there? Within what’s already being done, what is (or is not) working well? What changes need to be made? How will outcomes be measured?
  • Be an active participant in health plan design. Partner with benefit departments/HR by making clear the connections between the health plan and wellness. Participate in discussions on copays, deductible options, premium contributions, consumer health education, time off/leave policies, disability, and absenteeism/presenteeism.
  • Pay attention to organization politics. Identify supportive personnel and potential detractors. Meet with them and learn about their responsibilities and concerns, then demonstrate how the wellness program can support these efforts. Establish and build relationships as you create opportunities to support each other’s objectives.