Five ways to improve your wellness program
Employers often struggle to raise participation in a wellness program, especially among those who are most at risk of chronic health conditions. The RAND Corp., based in Santa Monica, CA, researched wellness programs among a wide range of employers and identified these five strategies:
- Communicate effectively. Employees need to know what wellness programs are available to them and how to access them. Different methods should be used to share messages about healthy behaviors and wellness activities, including email, bulletin boards, newsletters, flyers, web portals and announcements at staff meetings.
- Make programs convenient and accessible. Long wait times for health screenings or limited hours for health and fitness programs will hinder employee participation. Conversely, providing a range of programs offered at different times can improve engagement.
- Gain support from leadership. Senior leaders need to view wellness programs as a priority as part of a corporate culture of safety. Direct supervisors may need to provide some flexibility in schedules to enable employees to attend wellness or fitness programs.
- Leverage existing resources and relationships. Health plans may provide some consulting services and may have marketing and communications materials that can be adapted for your program.
- Seek continuous improvement. Evaluate your program based on participation, health outcomes, or other measures. Feedback from employees can help guide wellness programs.