Workplace wellness: Two easy steps for starting a successful program

Posted by: Kristin Behler
Date: September 21, 2016

Get started on workplace wellness by determining where you’re beginning.

At BeneFIT Corporate WellnessSM, we recommend all employers initiate a wellness program by conducting a Health Assessment (HA). The questions in this employee survey will help you learn about the behaviors and risk factors among your staff. Not all HAs are equal, however; so, be sure to choose one that has been accredited by a reputable organization (BeneFIT’s online Health Assessment has been certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance [NCQA]).

Health insurance claims data are an excellent complement to the self-reported data gleaned from the HA. Information on utilization and common health issues can often be obtained from your broker or health insurance provider, but more and more employers are opting to engage with a population health management firm, such as Populytics. These firms specialize in improving the health outcomes of a population by distinguishing and monitoring individual patients within that group. A population health management program helps you see how your workplace wellness efforts are reflected in health care system behaviors and keep a pulse on the risk levels of your workforce.

According to Jonathan Burke, DO, Medical Director, Populytics, Population Health Management is about exerting less effort earlier, producing large intermediate and long-term gains rather than the traditional methods of exerting large efforts later for small to moderate gain. Predictive modeling, he says, can help employers take proactive steps to mitigate health risks in advance and improve employee health behavior. “If you know what is likely to happen in the near future, you can put strategies in place now to encourage optimal outcomes down the road,” he says.

Identify the needs and wants of your employees for higher levels of engagement

Once you’ve reviewed your baseline data and identified an issue; smoking, for example, may be a widespread issue among your employees. Your wellness team thinks your company is ready to offer the resources and support needed to establish a tobacco cessation program – but are your employees ready to engage?

A needs and interest survey is an easy way to find out what’s important to your employees. Ask about activities, dates and times, so your program is convenient as well as appealing. Make sure the survey is confidential so they feel comfortable offering their honest opinions. You want to show employees that you value their input and are planning a program in which they will want to participate.

Remember: surveys don’t have to be on paper. How does your company usually gather feedback from employees? Some companies attach a paper survey to a paystub, or hand a survey out at a meeting. Others do town hall-style discussions, anonymous drop-boxes or informal focus groups. You have to find what works best for your organization.

For more information about starting a corporate wellness program, visit www.populytics.com.