Increase Engagement in Wellness Programs

It is that time of year.  We’ve all been bombarded with radio, television, print, social media, etc.  ads focused on fitness and weight loss for the start of 2018.  The gyms are packed and weight loss program subscriptions are at their height.  It might be a good time to ride the momentum and link it to corporate wellness initiatives.

This headline in BenfitsPRO Magazine caught my eye:  “9 Best Practices to Increase Engagement in Wellness Programs” by Pearce Fleming.

Here’s a quick overview of Pearce Fleming’s ideas:

  1. Garner Strong Senior Management Support
    The best programs that we see have a strong cultural alignment and serious buy-in from the organization’s executive team.  “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t seem to work when it comes to workplace wellness.  In fact, Fleming cites Harvard Business Review research that indicates more than half of those who don’t participate in worksite wellness programs state that their non-participation is due to a lack of management support.
  2. Design a Comprehensive Program
    “To make a difference, your program should offer something for the 70% of the employee population who may not be ready to change their behavior yet, and address all aspects of well-being, including stress management and change resiliency, as well as all stages of disease progression.”   Programs that drive modest health improvements in the most healthy segment of the employee population are unlikely to yield a satisfying return on investment.
  3. Integrate Incentive
    Economic incentives seem to drive participation.  A common approach at the time of roll-out is to redefine current payroll deductions as PREFERRED (now perceived as an incentive) and create a less attractive payroll deduction schedule within the legal limits as the new STANDARD payroll deduction schedule.
  4. Develop an Integrated, Comprehensive Communication Strategy
    “According to research, 69% of employees who don’t participate in wellness programs cite lack of awareness.”   It is easy to incorporate wellness into your basic annual open enrollment communication.  Additional “campaign-style” monthly communication improves the probability of the employees’ ongoing commitment to participate in a sincere way.
  5. Have Dedicated Onsite Program Management Staff
    “Greater engagement will occur if you have dedicated, certified well-being staff onsite as part of the program, and those individuals are available at times that are convenient for employees.”
  6. Leverage Multiple Program Modalities
    It is important to recognize that not all employees have the same appetite for technology and some may be more comfortable with paper and meetings than smartphone apps.  This is particularly important when your workforce is demographically diverse.  Try to create opportunities for employees to participate in ways that are most comfortable for THEM recognizing that what’s comfortable for one employee might not be for another.
  7. Utilize Population-Based Awareness-Building Initiatives
    “When population-based cultural activities are part of the well-being program, participation rates increase, StayWell research reveals.  You will want to include activities that increase social connectedness, including the participation of colleagues and managers.  Additionally, chances of a program’s success increases if activities are linked to your company’s greater purpose or enable participants to give back to larger communities and non-profits.”
  8. Offer Biometric Health Screenings
    Either on-site screenings or the requirement of an annual physical with a primary care provider are key strategies that drive results.  Early detection of health conditions provides patients with the best opportunity for maintaining relatively good health.  Conditions that go undetected or ignored can result in dire consequences.
  9. Encourage Vendor Integration
    For example, there are several brands of fitness trackers available in the market.  If activity tracking is a component of the program, it would be a best practice to integrate with all fitness trackers, not just one specific brand of a tracker.

CPI-HR is passionate about supporting our valued clients.  For information about how you can integrate these best practices into your wellness program, please contact your CPI-HR benefits consultant, or call 440-542-7800

 

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