When it comes to improving the health and well-being of your employees, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to be super creative or search for that magic bullet that automatically boosts engagement and changes behavior. If only it were that easy!
Like any other important business initiative, worksite wellness and health management must begin with a plan, a budget and a strategy. Your plan needs to be based on realistic goals and objectives and executed strategically over the long-term. Most importantly, your plan must be designed to benefit everyone and taken to heart at every level of the organization, top to bottom. If health management is not lived by leadership, others will never take it seriously.
Numbers Seldom Lie
Recent surveys by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health show that fewer than 1 in 5 companies have defined a health strategy for their organizations. Surveys also show that in 2014, companies “working” their plan reported per employee healthcare expenses nearly $2,000 lower than companies doing little in the area of health management.
Perhaps the most meaningful numbers in your plan are those that rise to the surface through biometric screenings. Identifying each individual’s health risks is the ingredient that truly can change behavior, help fight chronic disease and improve quality of life. Relevant, personalized health data can make the difference between talk and action, and ultimately, between estrangement and engagement.
Never Stop Communicating
Virtually every employer group will consist of those who are already actively engaged in their health, a similar number with little or no interest and the majority who may not be actively engaged but can be influenced over time. The key to a successful health strategy is consistent, honest communication – telling employees what your program includes, why the program is being made available, how they can benefit and when they need to get involved. Communication is critical for those who come on board, especially when incentives are included. Keeping things simple and fun will always generate better results and help keep the focus on people’s well-being rather than the company’s bottom line.