Posted by: Steve Uslabar, Strategic Risk Advisor
Many of my clients often question the logic of workplace wellness. These programs cost money, and often they don’t engage the extremely unhealthy employees we all want to help. Establishing a return on investment is almost impossible, and often wellness vendors use the fallback position of “just think how bad your renewal would have been…”
While these are valid concerns, I’m convinced that the worksite is an ideal location to share wellness information. Here are a few reasons why.
• Employees spend more than half of their waking hours at work.
As a result, employees are a captive audience for health promotion messages. Plus, employees may be more likely to attend a health screening or educational lunch and learn session if they don’t have to spend more time away from home to do it. (The same goes for blood drives!)
• Incentives to encourage program participation work extremely well in the workplace.
Mayo Clinic Health Solutions’ experience shows that a relatively small incentive, such as a $100 gift card or $240 health premium reduction, can drive high participation in health promotion programs (75 percent and 87 percent respectively), such as a health risk assessment.
• Existing company systems can help facilitate health programs.
Information, communication, and program analysis can usually be accomplished within the existing systems and organizational structure of the work site. “Hitchhiking” health education onto regular company meetings is an easy way for you to message wellness culture to your team.
• Company culture and camaraderie can help drive program success.
Group initiatives, such as a population-wide walking campaign or a health risk assessment drive, can be very effective in the workplace, because friendly competition between departments or cooperation among colleagues can help drive engagement and participation. (I’m 43, last year I scored a 92 on my HRA; think you can beat me next year?)
• Health promotion programs support a consumer-driven approach to health care.
Health promotion programs reinforce a consumerism health care strategy by encouraging (and sometimes rewarding) employees for taking charge of their health. They are a natural fit with health savings accounts and other consumer-driven health plans.
If you want help starting an employee wellness program or enhancing your existing program, contact me at 920-886-3443.