The last two weeks we have highlighted the benefits of and planning process for a health and wellness program. Before this series concludes, two more hills need conquered: program implementation and results tracking. This week’s blog will look at how to not only implement the health and wellness plan, but will discuss how to know if your program is providing a return on investment.
You have just spent the last couple months planning goals and objectives, but what good are they if your employees are not aware of these efforts? To assure all your sweaty brainstorming sessions do not go to waste, implement a marketing program that spreads the “healthy habit syndrome.”
Healthy Habit Syndrome: Getting Employee Buy-in
According to the 2009 SHRM’s Trend Book, the major next step after developing a health and wellness plan is to create employee buy-in. This reduces program rejection and ensures employees realize that health and wellness implementation stems from a sincere concern for employee health, and not only a concern for reducing the organizational budget.
In addition to marketing specific activities, marketing program incentives may help increase employee engagement. Make your incentives worthy enough to shine in the midst of daily routines, and then figure out a creative way to promote them. Once employees are excited about the end reward, word will spread and marketing efforts will effortlessly increase. Employers are more likely to reward program participation and completion rather than achievement of specific goals, according to the 2009 SHRM’s Trend Book.
Workers from I.B.M. Corp suggest cash incentives are key in today’s world. In 2004 the company offered a $300 incentive for employees that tracked healthy behaviors, including smoking cessation. Currently the smoking rate at I.B.M. is about half the national average, according to New York Times Well Blog.
Making it easy
Once employees buy-in to your program, the second part of implementation is making it easy for employees to get involved. This is done by partnering with area vendors who can help you achieve your program objectives. Think about your objectives and who you may need to connect with in order to achieve them. Did your objectives include offering personal training to employees? If so, research local trainers who work with organizations. Or, maybe you planned to have health presentations; does a community hospital have any speaker bureaus? Think of contacts you may all ready have, but be willing to reach out.
Not only will networking make it easier for employee engagement, but by partnering with community vendors, you may see additional cost benefits for both your organization and your employees.
You did it! (Or did you?)
You have successfully planned and now implemented a health and wellness program. But was it all worth it; how do you check the ROI?
Though finding the ROI of employees’ health might be a little more challenging than calculating a financial return, it still can, and should, be done. According to a Workplace Wellness Programs Blog, organizations who have taken the time to determine the ROI have found it to be quite significant.
The June 2008 issue of HR Magazine said that employers can calculate a ROI by using health risk assessments to create divisions of low, medium and high-risk employee categories. These are used to track annual changes in health risk status, which allow health improvements or declines to be seen.
There you have it; a three part series on creating a healthy workplace. If this information did not ignite the “healthy habit syndrome” full force, hopefully it at least adds a couple sparks to the fire. Remember, with a little management and departmental support, expressing a sincere concern about your employees’ health can bring tremendous organizational benefits and requires nothing more than a commitment to the first step.
Calculating wellness programs ROI is sometimes complex, but it can still be done (Susan J. Wells, June 2008 HR Magazine); Worksite Health Promotion Programs (John Bates, Wellnessproposals.com); Workplace Wellness Program ROI (Workplace Wellness Programs Blog); Getting More Out of Wellness Perks, (Tara Parker-Pope The New York Times Well Blog); Keeping Wellness Programs Out of Trouble (Joanne Sammer, HR Magazine SHRM’s 2009 HR Trend Book)