Corporate health and wellness (H&W) programs have a way of coming off as “much ado about nothing” in spite of the best efforts of HR teams and the top brass. Yet, millions could be saved by corporate India with some simple smarts built into wellness programs. A good health and wellness program needs to be implementable with minimal fuss, and that too without taking line managers off their core responsibilities. The program itself will have to evolve over time, but with some sound decisions early on, you could have a winner on your hands.
Here are some insights based on our first-hand market experience. The best part is that they don’t need you to dig deep into your pockets or invest overly large amounts of time!
1. Set Your Wellness GPS
Where many health and wellness programs fail is in how ad hoc they are. As with a GPS, if you know where you are and where you are heading, you are more likely to get there with minimum hassles. If your workforce has desk-bound jobs, signing them up for diagnostics of sedentary lifestyle-linked chronic diseases like diabetes or high cholesterol makes sense. If they are in their twenties and thirties, initiatives targeting an older audience will be wasted. Find answers to questions like:
2. Make It Personal
Smartly designed incentives can boost participation and motivate employees to achieve self-determined health goals. Financial rewards may be the most obvious, but innovative options could work better. AstraZeneca organizes creative initiatives that make health fun – cooking classes conducted by local celebrity chefs and wellness seminars delivered by Olympians are, after all, hard to resist!
Hand out perks like prime company parking slots or preferred vacation times to employees who have kept their health on track. A local fitness center could come on board as a partner, running fitness classes on your premises and offering deals on gym memberships.
3. Tap Technology For Wellness
Technology can play a critical role in driving employee participation and helping achieve positive health outcomes. A study by healthcare group Bupa reported that 3 in 5 employees would likely be more proactive about monitoring their health if they had a digital platform provided by their employer. A three-pronged approach can get you there:
To tailor-make plans for each employee
To keep engagement going, create accountability
To help employees feel a human connect
If this seems like too much to handle, remember, a good health and wellness partner can help bring your wellness program together effectively. Find one that can excite employees about their health through a combination of information, well-timed activities, diagnostics & preventive care, and other support mechanisms.
4. Invite Everyone To The Party!
A good program is one that integrates health into the company’s mission and values, its very DNA. Nothing drives the point home as much as a senior leadership that walks the talk. At Fitbit’s San Francisco headquarters, company leaders do that literally! Their wellness initiative “Workout Wednesdays” comprise activities in which everyone from interns to senior management participates.
Now, take it one step further. Diagnostics, health-related content, and fitness events that expand the umbrella to cover family members can drive greater participation. And while you are at it, making it fun always helps! Take a cue from Las Vegas-based firm Zappos who saw unprecedented success with their 12-week weight-loss and muscle-building “Buns & Guns challenge” that engaged employees and their families.
5. It Doesn’t Count If You Can’t Count It
No one can measure the success of a health and wellness program or suggest changes if you don’t have metrics to track it by. Done right, corporate wellness programs produce a positive return on investment (ROI), with numerous beneficial business outcomes like reduced absenteeism and lower healthcare and insurance costs.
Another key metric to consider is the value on investment (VOI), determined by factors like an improved culture of wellness, enhanced employee morale and awareness, and better talent attraction and retention. Biometric screenings and health tests before and after a program can track improvements in health status while participation numbers, dipstick studies, and surveys can help you gauge awareness and engagement levels.
As you roll out your own corporate health program, you will discover that it doesn’t always take grand gestures or mammoth investments to make it work. Little things like a personalized health plan and diagnostics, access to more relevant information, and ease of use can all make a world of difference!