By Margaret Hansen
Good for Your Health and Your Bottom Line
Rising healthcare costs are quickly outpacing inflation. According to Occupational Health and Safety News, total annual healthcare costs reached $2.4 trillion in 2008 and are projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.
What better way to lower these costs than to offer an employee wellness program, where employees take charge of their own good health? Here are some of OSHN's "best practice" tips for your wellness program.
1. Collect Health Data
You can do this through free health screenings and employee surveys. Free blood pressure readings, cholesterol checks, flu shots, and nutrition and exercise programs, are just a few ways that you can positively impact participants' health at no cost to them. Ask participants to report their health, diet and exercise habits and test results via surveys. Use all of this data to better serve the group with customized health goals.
2. Provide Incentives That Encourage Participation
People might be more willing to walk during lunch if their walking miles can be traded for cash, merchandise and/or other benefits, such as gym passes, sports store gift cards, etc.
3. Get Management Buy-in
Make sure leadership is fully committed to participating in and promoting the wellness program. At least one person from leadership should champion your program.
4. Create a Three-tier Program
Not everyone's health is in the same state. One person may just need some tips on exercising or nutrition; while another person may wish to quit smoking; and yet another person may be in the throes of chronic disease. Risk levels could be broken down to low, moderate and high. Make sure your program offers the right advice to the right level of need.
5. Hire a Pro
An email from a professional wellness coach or case management nurse can really underscore the credibility and seriousness of your program, encouraging more people to participate.
6. Communicate Well
People tend to forget about this benefit if it's not being shouted from the rooftops. Have a tip of the week email that links to your wellness blog/newsletter, keeping people informed on a regular basis of upcoming wellness events, recipes, tips, bios, etc.
7. Track Stats
Evaluate results, performance and effectiveness of your program by keeping track of all of the data you collect and use that data to make adjustments to your program as needed.
Don't forget to add "Wellness Program" to your list of benefits and your recruiting strategy. You can collect testimonials from current employees and then tell potential candidates why employees like your wellness program and how it stands out from others.