Pelton identified the following obstacles companies are facing when it comes to successful wellness programs:
- motivating the well, not the sick by only offering the bare minimum, such as biometric wellness screenings once a year;
- inadequate access to health monitoring with secure tracking;
- insufficient educational opportunities;
- difficulty building awareness and engagement; and
- limited time and resources
Change the conversation
Companies need to overcome these obstacles by changing the conversation and the tactics used around wellness. Instead of talking with employees about needing to change what claims are filed, managers need to be talking with their staff about why their health is important. It must be an employee-centric approach to discussing wellness.
An effective, successful wellness program will always be:
- Inclusive: It can’t only be available to people on the company’s healthcare plan or only for the employees themselves. A good program will be available to everyone in the company, as well as their dependents.
- Multidimensional: It must include not only the aspects of wellness related to physical health, but should also have financial wellness components.
- Targeted: Cookie cutter programs don’t address the specific needs of the participants or the employer. Meet participants where they are; some people might already be on the track to good health, while others need more motivation and resources.
- Personalized: Included in the program should be things that have been needed or wanted in the past by both the employees and employer. Technological algorithms can help deliver a personalized plan that will work best for individual companies.
- Responsive: Ensure wellness program information is user-friendly and can be accessed across all forms of technology. This will increase participation and is another way to reach out to dependents.
- Fun: Companies should use challenges, incentives and other engaging tactics to create a buzz about their program.
- Available 24/7: If people can access it whenever it’s convenient for them, they’re more likely to do it.
- Visible: The data needs to be made available so that both employees and employers know their effort is paying off. Share results and help spread the effectiveness (and therefore increase participation) of the program.
Secure third-party help
Pelton strongly recommends instituting the assistance of a third party to accomplish all of these steps. A HIPPA-compliant outside broker can hold the data on employee health and assist in the company’s wellness goals using technology, employee education and social engagement. He also suggests that companies secure testimonials from people participating in their wellness programs to promote effectiveness and drive participation.
COSE has partnered up with hchoices to offer a turnkey wellness program called Y’s Choice, which includes such aspects as:
- reporting and incentive tracking;
- coaching and dietary consulting;
- wellness portal and custom learning system; and
- discounted memberships to YMCA.
Pelton also explained the Workplace Wellness Grant Program through the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, which provides $15,000 to employers wanting to institute a wellness program.
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