Every worksite wellness program today should be incorporating these five basic strategies into their programming. You do want to cover all the bases don’t you?
While it is understood that a cookie cutter approach to worksite wellness does not work, this does not mean that there are not basics that every worksite wellness program should address. Here is my thinking as to what the basics should be.
Promote All Employee Benefits
Far too often, wellness, safety and work-life programs work only within their own silos. Program integration and cross promotion are good for both employees and the employer.
If the employer offers health insurance benefits to employees, these benefits must, by law, include a number of health related and disease detection screenings. Worksite wellness programs should be actively promoting these screenings and benefits as part of the program’s overall awareness and education strategy.
Promote Community-Based Resources
The historical model of worksite wellness programs reflects each employer creating their own independent, stand-alone program. But who says this is the way it should be? In fact, it is my contention that the smaller the employer, the greater the employer should be relying on community based resources.
Many communities have a strong public health presence, including non-profit organizations. Many of the public health entities offer great health and wellness resources and programming. Why reinvent the wheel? Employers should be taking advantage of what these organizations have to offer.
Employee Health Risk Reduction
While the debate rages on as to whether worksite wellness programs actually save an employer money when it comes to the direct costs of employee healthcare or health insurance, there appears to no argument that properly designed, properly implemented and adequately resourced wellness programs can and do reduce employee health risks. While what this actually means from a cost or spending perspective for employers and employees alike remains unclear, risk reduction, in and of itself, remains a worthy goal and benefit.
Leverage, Don’t Just Duplicate
Just because some other employer has a successful worksite wellness program, this does not mean just copying the program will make it successful in your organization as well. Rather than just duplicating the program, leverage the program’s successes by adapting and tweaking the program’s components to fit within your organization. It is important to keep in mind that any strategy or tactic employed that is not in alignment with your organization’s culture is doomed to fail.
The research literature is clear on this point. Successful and sustainable worksite wellness programs are systemic, systematic, integrated and comprehensive in their approach. A comprehensive approach includes both individual and organizational level strategies.
A comprehensive program includes the following strategies:
- Awareness and education initiatives
- Lifestyle change initiatives
- Organizational initiatives
- Program evaluation (You can’t manage what you do not measure)
Every worksite wellness program today should address each one of these five basic strategies.