Wellness programs come in all shapes and sizes. But regardless of plan design there are five common components that set the successful programs apart from the rest.
At their core, wellness programs require constant monitoring and periodic adjustments. The programs that get mediocre results are the ones that are left to run on autopilot. That’s why it’s crucial to:
- Know thine enemy You have to know what’s driving your biggest claim costs on your healthcare plan – both among employees and their dependents.
- Create realistic expectations. With wellness, what an employer gets will almost always depend on how much it spends, how well it plans and how well it sustains communications with participants and the vendor.
- Maintain strong communications. The wellness initiatives that achieve the greatest success are those which are communicated aggressively from the get go and are sustained. Repetition is your friend when doing employee education.
- Integrate wellness with other benefits. Real-life experience has shown that you should consider your employee assistance programs (EAPs) an extension of the wellness program. You should also consider issues like absenteeism, disability and worker’s compensation to be pieces of the wellness puzzle.
- Practice what you preach. The key to ensuring employee buy-in is for management to lead the program by setting a positive example. If senior managers are unwilling to participate and address their own health issues, don’t expect many employees to take the program seriously.