Step 1: Conduct Assessments
Obtaining information on the workforce’s health—and the organization’s readiness to make changes based on this information—is a vital step in building a workforce wellness programme. This data will allow the company to create programmes and services that benefit both the employer and the employee. The following actions and tools are suggested for getting this information:
- Conduct employee surveys to evaluate the personal wellness interests and needs of employees: Surveying employees directly helps assess the current climate as to how a program might be received and what information employees are willing to share. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on how to design an employee survey, including examples of survey topic areas.
- Conduct a health risk assessment. Assessing the health of the workforce will help determine which programs to implement: Several laws affect the use of health risk assessments, therefore, consulting with legal counsel is recommended. For general guidance, see the CDC information on health risk assessments and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance on wellness programs in relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will apply when wellness programs are part of the group health plan (premium incentives, etc.).
Step 2: Obtain Management Support
Building an effective wellness programme requires managerial support. As with any effort, management buy-in is essential for acquiring money, gaining support within the business, and approving programme regulations and practises. Management can help by linking health promotion objectives to business outcomes, thereby framing wellness as a critical component of the enterprise.
Obtaining management support is difficult since it is difficult to communicate the potential value of a wellness programme to the organization’s bottom line.
Addressing the three questions below may help in obtaining the required support from senior management:
- What are the organization’s strategic priorities in the short and long term? Employers should demonstrate how wellness programmes serve these strategic goals.
- What are the projected benefits of the wellness effort, and what is the potential organisational value of wellness promotion?
- What are the senior-level executives’ leadership styles, pressures, strengths, and weaknesses?
These responses can assist choose the presentation method.
Step 3: Establish a Wellness Committee
After conducting a needs assessment and obtaining management support, an employer can create an internal, employee-driven committee that helps build and sustain a wellness culture in the organization. This committee will help build organizational support and effectiveness for the wellness program. The responsibilities of the wellness committee might include the following:
- Evaluating the current programs, services and policies that are available in the workplace.
- Assessing employee needs and preferences.
- Developing a health promotion operating plan, including a vision statement, goals and objectives.
- Assisting in implementing, monitoring and evaluating wellness activities.
- Employers should solicit committee members by invitation or ask for volunteers, ensuring there is cross-sectional representation, such as members from the top management, the HR department, information technology, communications/marketing, and the health and safety department; union representatives; and employees interested in health and wellness.
Step 4: Develop Goals & Objectives
Employers might set programme goals and objectives based on the information received from the workforce evaluation. An important goal for many firms is to enhance workers’ health and thereby minimise healthcare expenditures. Other objectives may include lowering absenteeism, enhancing worker productivity, and increasing employee retention. Wellness programme goals and objectives are expressions of the program’s broad, long-term accomplishments. Each goal has one or more targets to ensure that it is completed effectively. Objectives should be specific, time-bound, and articulated in such a way that it is simple to judge whether they have been met. The following are some examples of aims and objectives:
- Reduce the number of employees who smoke by 5 per cent in the fiscal year 20XX.
- Increase the number of employees enrolled in smoking cessation classes by 15 per cent by the second quarter of 20XX.
- Decrease the number of employees identified as obese by 5 per cent in 20XX.
- Increase the level of medication adherence of the employee population by 10 per cent.
Step 5: Establish a budget
A budget must be established before the wellness programme can be implemented. Without funding, the initiative will come to a halt.
When developing a wellness budget, firms should factor in the costs of incentives, promotion, and programme design. Typical budget elements include screening vendor/other provider costs, participation incentives, advertising materials, meeting provisions, pedometers/fitness monitors, HR representative and committee member time, and so on.
Employers should also consider the following steps when looking for hidden financing resources:
- Conduct polls to see if employees are willing to pay for a component of the wellness programme, such as yoga or exercise courses.
- Work with the health insurance carrier to establish the wellness components that are available. These programme expenditures are frequently already included in health insurance rates.
- Investigate the possibility of participating in clinical research conducted by universities or hospitals to evaluate the impact of workplace wellness programmes.
- To augment the wellness programme, look into free community resources or programmes.
- Consider putting in place low- or no-cost internal activities, such as a lunch walking group.
Step 6: Design Wellness Program Components
Employers have a lot of leeway when it comes to establishing a health programme. There is no standard programme because each one is tailored to the goals and resources of the organisation. The corporate wellness programme can range from the most basic to the most comprehensive multi-pronged approach. It is critical to include a number of components that target risk behaviours as well as employee needs and interests. Organizations can use the resources gathered in earlier rounds of organisational assessment, wellness committee data collection, budgetary constraints, and goals and objectives to choose the sorts of wellness programmes to include in the design. Examples of some programs are as follows:
- Monday motivations session
- Promote and reward healthy eating habits
- Offer surprise day-offs
- Indoor games
- Promote sleep
- Throw a costume party
- Offer mental health support
Step 7: Select wellness program incentives or rewards
Incentives or prizes are an excellent strategy for changing harmful behaviours, maintaining healthy behaviours, increasing participation rates, or assisting persons in completing a programme. The case for rewarding employees for participation in a wellness programme is based on basic behavioural psychology principles: people are motivated to act by the positive consequences they expect from their actions. Integrating a rewards system into a wellness programme is an excellent incentive. Rewards can take numerous forms, such as points redeemable for items, gifts commemorating achievements, or monetary awards. The motivation for rewards gradually switches from an external incentive to intrinsic reinforcement.
Step 8: Communicate the Wellness Plan
The next stage is to create and communicate the wellness policy for the organisation. This policy statement should outline the organization’s objective, level of commitment, and employee wellness rewards and incentives scheme. When conveying the reward system to employees, using a John Doe example may help them perceive the programme in a more realistic light.
Communication is essential for marketing the programme and guaranteeing participant involvement. It is beneficial to employ communication to foster a social culture that values health. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including the use of well-established marketing and behaviour-changing tactics.
Step 9: Evaluate the Success of the Program
Evaluating the performance of the wellness programme, like any other investment or initiative, is critical for maintaining management and employee support as well as changing or launching new programmes. At the start of any wellness campaign, employers should have established KPIs and baselines, which will vary depending on the programmes deployed. Employers, for example, may track participation rates, programme completion rates, healthcare cost savings, and the percentage of employees who have quit smoking or lost weight. Employers may wish to calculate the return on investment as well (ROI). Regardless of the measures or measurements employed, evaluating the efficacy of the wellness programme is a critical element in the program’s continuous maintenance.