Employee Wellness: Health Promotion Program Return On Investment (ROI)

Is your corporation’s ROI decreasing? Are the costs of your corporation’s health insurance premiums increasing?

If you said yes to either or both of these questions it is most likely because your employees are not getting what they need to work at their highest potential. A good way to change this is through the use of wellness programs.

Health promotion programs are a excellent way to lessen the stress felt by staff while working, help the physical and mental health of all individuals, create a safer, more fun work environment, and hence increase the productivity of all staff and decrease the cost of health insurance for the organization.

There are many ways that businesses can go about increasing company wellness. One of the most well-liked ways is by building a fitness center that the workers of the corporation can use before or after working.

By building an onsite gym, companies are showing that they’re concerned with the health of their workforce and that they’re willing to help with the physical and mental wellness of their workers.

A fitness club is also promoting necessary healthy strategies like losing weight, needed daily aerobic activity, and just in general, everybody’s want/ need to stay healthy and fit. In order for all employees to stay safe while exercising, a organization must employ staff whom are properly trained and qualified as fitness trainers.

There are also many other options that businesses have, to go about building worker wellness programs. One other choice is to hold exercise courses such as yoga, spinning, or walking, or to hold educational courses that teach about how to eat healthful, give general health education, or teach more, fun ways to exercise.

Another great way to improve a health promotion program is to hold support groups for tobacco use cessation, losing weight, or dealing with cancer. With a combination of all these different ideas and health promotion programs, corporations can create successful health promotion programs that help not only the individual personnel, but also the corporation as a whole.

Drug and alcohol addiction programs also have a high return on investment for employers.  In fact current research shows that addicted employees are 33% less productive than sober employees.  Further, their absentee rate is 10 times higher than that of sober workers.  Following is a great Guide to Employee Interventions for employees.  There’s also a lot of other outstanding information found on the site.

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Wellness Programs, Carrots and Sticks

Most employers with more than 25 employees have some type of wellness program in place.  In fact research shows that in the last ten years there’s been a tenfold increase in the number of employers offering some form of wellness program.

The number of programs offered, the types of programs offered, enrollment rates, participation rates and overall effectiveness of these initiatives varies greatly.  Small employers tend to have fewer programs in place, lower rates of participation and a lower return on investment.  Medium- and large-sized businesses tend to offer more programs and have higher participation and at least a 3-to-1 return on investment for their wellness programs.

The key to getting a good wellness program ROI is having high participation. Employers use a variety of methods to drive participation – hence my reference in the title to “carrots and sticks”.  There is a considerable amount of research to support the use of both methods to drive optimal  rates of participation.  However it’s often the “carrots” – or positive approach – that produces the best long-term success.

Using Incentives and Positive Reinforcement

Decades of research in behavioral psychology clearly shows that positive reinforcement is the single best way to change behavior.  Wellness programs that make use of positive reinforcement position themselves for success.  Rewarding employees for participation in wellness programs, losing weight or maintaining a healthy body weight, giving up tobacco products or any other appropriate program activities makes perfect sense – logically and from a scientific perspective.

A question we often get is “what incentives should we use?”.  Our response is that it depends on your specific employee population.  What works for one group may not work for another.  For example, a $50 gift card probably won’t get an attorney to complete a health risk assessment.  The trick is to find out what will motivate your employees and use that (if you can) to drive increased participation.  Some examples of incentives includes: money, gift cards, time off, t-shirts, posting accomplishments for other employees to see.

It’s All in How You Present It

The rising cost of health insurance is a major reason that many employers implement a wellness program.  Since the cost of health insurance is largely driven by plan usage, many employers often blame employees for the rising cost of health insurance.   With that in mind employers must carefully craft the way they implement a wellness program.  If the message employees get is negative then participation rates will be low and/or employees will participate resentfully.  Employers should focus less on the negative and emphasize the positive side of things.

Wellness programs and living a healthier life can add years and quality to your life.  In fact research shows that of the things which determine how long a person will live – 40% of them are lifestyle related (obesity, tobacco use, etc.)!   Why not emphasize the positive side of things?

 

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Employee Wellness: Wellness Programs.

Wellness Programs are excellent for waistlines and your bottom line

In today’s hectic world, most of us are spending more time at work, and have increasingly less time to look after our health. for a long time, employers have understood the benefits associated with keeping employees well – increased productivity from lowered absenteeism and lowered disability claims.

For these reasons, coupled with the fact that many corporations realized double-digit health care costs last year, corporations should consider Wellness Programs as a way to keep workforce healthy.

But just how important are these wellness programs to employees? Exactly how often are they willing to participate in wellness programs designed to positively impact their wellness? Who do workers trust to provide them with important information about their health?

Answers to these questions and more were recently garnered from a research study  commissioned by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN).

The AAOHN survey questioned 500 workforce nationwide about their perceptions of Wellness Programs. More than three-quarters of all participants indicated these wellness programs are a good way to improve their overall health, and nearly 60 percent consider these offerings an incentive to remain with their current employer.

Staff Member retention and turnover impact the bottom line, so building health promotion programs into the work site culture is a valuable way to help retain talented workforce also to enhancing personal health and worksite productivity.

Wellness wish list

Staff Members appear to have their own agenda when it comes to their health. With new pressures resulting from an unstable economy, national security threats and work/balance issues, it’s not surprising that 85 percent of survey respondents cited stress management as a priority topic for work site wellness.

In addition to stress, other preferred topic areas include health screening programs (84 percent), exercise/physical fitness programs (84 percent), health insurance education (81 percent) and disease management (DM) workshops (80 percent).

In addition to lifestyle and personal health issues, those asked expressed concern about work-related health issues, including strains and injuries resulting from lifting or task-oriented muscle repetition, exposure to harmful substances, personal injury, vision changes due to computer work and worksite violence.

Beginning a Wellness Program

With such a wide range of health concerns, a key goal for employers is locating a way to proactively address the health needs of the biggest number of employees, and effectively change unhealthful behaviors, promote wellness and ward off illness and illness.

Printed materials like pamphlets, posters, fliers or pamphlets present an easy solution. But it is important to remember that different people  require different formats for learning.

A good rule of thumb –  provide information in a selection of learning formats like videos, flyers, health-related quizzes, display boards, lunch and learn presentations and reimbursement or incentive programs.

This assumes you’ve overcome the first hurdle – getting individuals  to sign on to a health promotion program. While survey respondents indicated health promotion programs are important, just six out of 10 (60 percent) reported that they participated in the health promotion programs at their businesses.  The other 40 percent cited lack of interest and lack of time as deterrents.

This points to the need for a robust, structured wellness program using a creative approach, with an incentive for participation and effective wellness program advertising.

By investing in an organized health promotion program headed by a qualified health care specialist such as an onsite nurse, organizations can give workforce the access to the health information they want, and increase participation and generate interest at the same time.

The result – staff become savvier healthcare consumers who feel more in charge of their personal health.  And healthier staff make for a healthier bottom line.

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Employee Wellness : Obstacles of Health Promotion Programs.

Wellness programs are designed to help enhance the overall health and awareness of health related issues of workforce in the worksite.

Even though these wellness programs are set up to help individuals set, work toward and maintain healthful lifestyle options, they sometimes fail.

There are five main reasons health promotion programs are unsuccessful.  The first reason is because of lack of employee interest. It is very important when presenting a new health promotion program to staff that every effort is made to communicate the all encompassing benefits of the health promotion program to the business and to the individual.

Next, wellness programs can fail because of lack of staff resources. When a wellness program is introduced but there are few resources to offer with the wellness program, it will be challenging for an worker to want to take benefit of it.

As part of the previous reason for failure of a health promotion program, inadequate funding also can set a health promotion program up for failure. With little money to promote a health promotion program, it can be challenging to spread the word about the advantages of a health promotion program.

An all too frequent reason that wellness programs don’t reach optimal success is because the wellness program and its coordinators fail to engage high risk employees. When high risk employees have the majority of the health issues in a worksite, they must be the most targeted person for a wellness program.

To see 100% participation is the optimal goal, but to engage those with the most severe health concerns is a gigantic priority.

Finally, the inability to enlist the support of upper-level management is a meaningful reason why wellness programs might not be successful. Without the endorsement, support and flexibility that upper-level management can offer a wellness program, it’s far less likely that it’ll actually succeed.

Wellness programs succeed for just as many reasons as they fail. With engaged and motivated workforce, obtaining wellness goals is attainable and promising.

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Employee Wellness : Wellness Quotes.

Company wellness involves many aspects of the worksite and can look dramatically different based upon the shared wellness vision.

Wellness efforts can also be uniquely tailored to women and men, old and young or to special health needs. Wellness in the worksite should be a top priority regardless of gender, age or special needs.

Living healthful requires time and attention and often special wellness activities designed by a wellness committee can help reach certain health goals.

Most wellness programs allow for each worker to dictate the goals and activities that will make up their wellness goals.

Usually, the business will jump in with wellness programs or incentives.  As when sponsoring a competition, some businesss will pay workers for reaching weight reduction goals.

Other wellness ideas could include special benefits or compensation for reaching health objectives. It can be difficult to gage what will motivate some staff, but knowing that most staff do not want to pay more for healthcare is a good begin.

A solid health promotion program is a surefire way to reduce healthcare costs, lost vacation time, and other miscellaneous medical testing.

With a unified wellness committee taking staff opinions into account, there should be objectives set up across the board that’ll help focus and monitor health care objectives for all involved staff.

Some staff members may pick to focus on specific health concerns while others may want to improve their overall health through diet, exercise and stress relief techniques.

When some employees seem adamant about admitting health concerns, it could be helpful to reaffirm confidentiality with each worker.

Other staff might find it helpful to become a member of  group or a partner in working toward health care objectives. Studies have proven that working on any kind of goal with another individual increases the percentage of completion and success.

Employee wellness can come in any shape, form or timeframe. It’s more crucial that you have resources in place for employees to ensure a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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Employee Wellness : Health Promotion Program Benefits.

Health promotion programs encourage people  to begin taking steps toward health care avoidance by teaching healthful decision making. These health promotion programs are designed to decrease health care costs, decrease absenteeism, and increase productivity.

It’s believed that many diseases in America are avoidable by proper health screenings and small changes toward a healthier lifestyle.  The most valuable resource a business has is its staff members.

By investing time and money into them, the corporation would reap the benefits of having more focused and healthier staff.

For an staff member, wellness programs can lead you towards living a healthier lifestyle and becoming a much healthier person. Depending on what a business offers you can learn how to reduce stress, keep your sugar levels in control, and even lose weight.

The support you’ll receive from your colleagues will help you reachyour health objectives. From eating a healthful lunch together to forming a racquetball tournament, you’ll develop a feeling of camaraderie between colleagues.

Social influences are a major part of a healthy life style. You will be getting encouragement from peers as well as encouraging others around you to live healthy.

For businesss, these wellness programs proved to have a considerable return on the investment put into them.

The small amount of funds it costs to start these wellness programs and continue with them is insurmountable compared to what they save with increased productivity and decreased costs spent on sick time and insurance premiums.

Having business support is a good start to living a healthier lifestyle. No matter what the approach, Health promotion programs can help make a positive change in your job, life and the community.

Beginning these health promotion programs is just one way companys around the United States are building a healthier and more productive workforce.

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Employee Wellness : What is Employee Wellness?

Around the United States corporations everywhere are implementing health promotion programs. There are several advantages to offering worker health promotion programs.

These wellness programs vary in intricacy, from only offering information to personnel on staying healthful to offering a organization health and fitness center and nutritious meal plans.  The bottom line of wellness programs is that healthful personnel are happy personnel, and they’re what make a organization run.

As an worker, health promotion programs have several wellness benefits including assisting you live a healthy lifestyle. Depending on the wellness efforts your corporation has put into place you are able to learn how to reduce stress, keep your sugar levels in control, and even lose weight if desired.

The support colleagues will give each other will help in improving employee health. Social influences are a major part of a healthy life style. You’ll be getting encouragement from colleagues in addition to encouraging others around you to promote wellness in the worksite.

There are a few barriers to health promotion programming in the worksite. Aligning cultural touch points will aid in the effort to promote employee health promotion. From resource commitment to rewards and recognition it is the job of the company to support a healthful lifestyle as much as possible.

Hiring wellness specialists who’ve a shared wellness vision with the company’s senior level management is another choice to promote wellness in the worksite. They can give wellness coaching and advice on how to live healthy and make healthy decisions.

Employees are a corporation’s most valuable assets and it is important to develop opportunities for personal health management, with an emphasis on shared responsibility. A healthful workforce is critical to the growth of the American company and in the long run is fundamental for the progress of the American economy.

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Employee Wellness : Serious Health Promotion Programs.

While many businesses have amazing health health promotion programs, others do not. Sometimes it is not the company who decides that a health promotion program would be beneficial, but the employees themselves are the ones requesting such an office benefit.

With the correct steps, personnel have often been very successful at changing the environment of a worksite.

If an employee or group of staff members wishes to begin a health wellness program within the organization, she must first talk with other staff members to see when there’s a mutual interest.

Oftentimes times, many people  are thinking about starting something, but no one has taken the first step. A team might  be formed with those interested, and information might  be gathered from other staff about their needs and interests.

If one is considering the proposal of a wellness program to her employer, not only must the requests be made clear (like a request for a lunchtime yoga class) but the logistics must be known before presenting it to the boss. Some of the questions that must be considered include –  

• Where will the class be held?
• Who will teach the class?
• How’ll the instructor be paid?

Regretfully, there are organizations where employers don’t see the benefit of health wellness programs until they are presented to them in a clear manner. Workers themselves need to be proactive.

If there is stress, fatigue, and unhealthy snacking because personnel are overwhelmed and feeling easily replaceable, then the corporation could  be in too distant of a position to realize that the personnel are unhappy.

Rather than continue to complain and be frustrated with the current situation, employees need to be the ones to make the first step in building a wellness program that will enable everyone to learn more about how to take care of themselves.

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Employee Wellness : Establish a Wellness Program Committee.

A critical first step in organizing your company’s health promotion program is the formation of a wellness committee.  The focus of the wellness committee is to plan, promote, and implement the health promotion program.

The committee establishes continuity, motivation, and wide ownership of the wellness program in addition to provides an excellent automobile for communication.

So who ought to be on the committee? Consider appointing the following people /departments to your committee –

• executive management within your company

• Union representatives

• Human resources  department

• Staff Member assistance program

• Information technology

• Communications

• Health and safety department

• Workers interested in wellness

Building a successful health promotion program requires staff time as well as money. Some larger businesses may spend 20 hours per week for three to six months preparing all the steps before launching a health promotion program.

Anywhere from 4 to 10 individuals  meeting monthly is equivalent to a wellness committee. A mission statement for the committee ought to be created by the second meeting. This way, everyone knows what the committee is working toward.

Once a wellness program has been established, the committee’s size and meeting schedule may change. Still, no fewer than 4 members ought to meet at least quarterly so the group – and the wellness program – does not fade away.

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Employee Wellness : Wellness Program – Obtaining Management Support.

Support from senior management is essential to building a successful wellness program! Visible senior management support is among the most vital factors in the success of a worksite Wellness Program.

Upper management executives are responsible for making sure that the business meets its goals. They can provide additional assistance by assisting you to link your Health Promotion Program goals to business outcomes, thereby positioning Health Promotion Program as a fundamental part of the business.

It’s important to develop support and excitement for the health promotion program from all levels of the business including senior level management, mid-level management, and grass-root workforce.

The challenge for any Wellness Program coordinator is convincing senior level management about the potential value of Wellness Program to the business and conceptualizing how health promotion programs can impact the business in a meaningful manner.

The American Journal of Health Promotion is a excellent resource to assist you with obtaining convincing information on the advantages of a Health Promotion Program.

Wellness Program support from executive management can come in many different ways –

• Involvement in the planning process

• Distribution of funding for the wellness program

• Support for time given to the wellness program

• Participation in wellness events

• Leadership by management, such as the distribution of a letter of support for the wellness program.

• Download a sample letter requesting executive management support. (http – //www.ibx.com/pdfs/custom/workplace_wellness/corporation_tools/sr_mgt_support.doc)

• Flexibility of staff member schedules to accommodate wellness activities

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