It's no secret; the cost for health care is on the rise. That means increased health care costs for employers and a due diligence to ensure that health benefits and supplemental programs are doing their job—ensuring employee health is on the increase so that consequentially they will lead to a decrease in the amount of health claims. After all, healthier employees equal less health care needed, right?
Too often, the knee-jerk solution that many companies falter to is the implementation of a company wellness program. While a company wellness program may be a partial solution to increasing employee health, remember that not all corporate wellness programs are created equal. Be wary of off-the-shelf solutions that may satisfy the "corporate wellness program checkbox" but may not offer the level of effectiveness that your company is seeking.
In fact, there are a few ways to almost guarantee that your wellness program ends up on the chopping block:
- No leadership buy in
Remember that the leadership of your company should act as ambassadors for not only your product but for your company culture, too. Look to company leaders to encourage the program that is in place. They should consistently promote your company's wellness program and its importance. Encourage them to "walk the walk." If your wellness program includes a pedometer to earn incentives, make sure your senior management have them attached to their hips. If your wellness program includes company-provided gym memberships, encourage your leadership to commit to a consistent gym visit and tout their gym visits loudly and proudly to your workforce. Whatever the program, ensure that your senior leadership are poster children for the cause.
- No follow up
The worst thing a company can do is muster up a huge launch for a wellness program, launch it, and then forget about it. If the organization brushes the program to the side, chances are your employees are going to follow suit and do the same. Instead, build excitement around a monthly contest or promotion or offer some sort of incentive/recognition to employees that are setting a great example by actively participating in the company program.
Don't make your corporate wellness program so inconvenient that employees dread participating. If part of your wellness program includes a health screening or physical exam, consider scheduling an on-site nurse to offer your employees a convenience factor.
Remember, these programs are put in place for one primary reason—to get employees healthy in an effort to decrease the number of health-related claims. Before jumping to a hasty solution and implementing the first one that comes your way, do some additional research to set realistic expectations, and then do your part to measure the results of its effectiveness. Consider setting a baseline measurement of health-related claims and costs, and then reviewing the program's effectiveness at differing intervals throughout its existence to determine if the company has realized a cost savings.
Implementing a corporate wellness program can be a daunting task, and many business owners and/or smaller HR departments simply don't have the time to find the right program and make it successful.
If you want to launch a wellness program or evaluate your existing one, let SWBC Employee Benefits Consulting give you the expert help you need! Download our info sheet to learn more!