By: Helios on December 26th, 2013

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How to Develop the Best Wellness Program for Your Organization

Business Management & Strategy | Best Practices

The health of your human capital should be one of your organization’s top priorities year after year. All levels of management should be just as concerned about this issue as they are other financial objectives and goals you are trying to achieve. Studies have shown a healthy and engaged organizations lead to better customer service, increased retention and better bottom line results. As an HR Business Partner to various organizations in the DC Metro area, I find many organizations focus on the costs of healthcare and don’t focus on creating a healthy organization through strategic initiatives.  This leads to programs that are incomplete and don’t accomplish what they are set out to do. The rest of this article will provide your organization with the seven steps necessary to develop the best wellness program for your firm.

Step 1 - Obtain Buy-In from Day One:

Getting everyone to buy into a new or revamped program is paramount to building a successful wellness program.  If the organization is not truly committed to change, the rest of the steps outlined in this article will be for naught. Two fundamental questions your organization needs to evaluate include: 1) Are we really going to commit to wellness as a strategic objective where people are going to be held accountable for the program we put in place?; and 2) Are we really focused on investing in health for our human capital rather than simply  just reducing costs? Answering these questions in a positive manner will lend to an easier transition through the next six steps.

Step 2 - Developing a Vision and Strategy for a Wellness Program:

After obtaining buy-in, the Senior Leadership Team should start developing a vision and strategy for a wellness program that will be a benefit both the organization and the people who comprise the firm. For some organizational cultures, the Senior Leadership Team may take the additional step of finalizing the vision and strategy and then disseminate it amongst the rest of the organization. While this is certainly an option, a best practice would be to include more people beyond the Senior Management Team to determine if the rest of the organization understands  the value of the program and how they can be leveraged to champion the wellness program.

Step 3 - Creating a Steering Committee:

As a follow up to step two, step three includes creating a steering committee made up of your operations managers, supervisors and employees to ensure there is understanding and buy-in for the program throughout the organization. The steering committee can also comprise constituents from local hospitals, benefit carriers, benefit consultants and health enhancement companies to ensure a plethora of information is being brought to the table and shared. Creating an organization that promotes employee health is not an easy undertaking and it may take a larger group of people to help your organization determine the best course of action for your firm.

Step 4 - Obtain a comprehensive health assessment:

Partner with an organization that is able to deliver a comprehensive organizational health assessment for your firm.  Obtaining a formalized assessment will allow your organization to determine if the vision and strategy you have created are still applicable to where your organization currently stands. If you already meet the standards of the health assessment, you may want to go back and redefine and take the next step in evolving your wellness program.

Step 5 - Develop objectives and metrics to track the progress of your program:

If your health assessment states you are aligned with your current vision and strategy, it is finally time to develop objectives and metrics to track the progress of the program.

Step 6 - Roll the program out to your organization:

Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to roll the program out in phases to ensure the program can work from a larger scaled initiative. If slight tweaks need to be made during the partial roll out, make the necessary changes before implementing the initiative to the rest of your firm.

Step 7 - Evaluate the program:

After the program has been implemented, review the objectives and metrics to confirm if they are meeting the vision and strategy of your program. If they are, continue working to achieve your vision and strategy. If business needs change, it might be time to work with your steering committee to determine if the vision and strategy require minor tweaking or a full blown reset.

The seven steps outlined above are just the starting point for creating the best employee wellness program for your organization.  At Helios HR, we have helped a number of companies not only develop strategic plans for their wellness programs, but also connect employers looking to enhance the health of their employees with local businesses trying to do the same.