Shifting your Financial Focus: Planning for Group Wellness
Worksite Wellness Programs: Strategic Planning
Designing a strategic plan for including worksite wellness programs in the corporate budget involves a shift in the perspective from which group wellness is viewed.
Planning for group wellness is the equivalent of planning an investment strategy rather than viewing the venture as merely a liability.
To facilitate this viewpoint, isolating an outcome or a financial goal and being able to measure it is vital to company planning for worksite wellness programs.
Worksite Wellness Programs: Realistic Expectations for Investment Return
Goals based on realistic strategies would initially involve efforts to engage employee interest in and commitment to using the group wellness plan as a long-term lifestyle alteration.
Reasonable corporate expectations for improved health would be, for example, higher numbers of employees using the Health Risk Appraisal tools, more documented immunizations, increased participation in physical activity and greater enrollment in smoking cessation programs.
Part of the new worksite wellness program financial focus would be targeting health promotion initiatives that improve health and not solely based on changes that instantly provide a savings in costs, such as, switching from a name brand to a generic brand of medication.
Planning for Group Wellness: Overcoming Negative Attitudes
Another challenge to planning for group wellness is overcoming negative employee attitudes toward worksite wellness programs due to past failures or inaccessible health promotion incentives. This is often a bigger challenge than bringing in entirely new people to the worksite wellness program.
Moreover, most employees have more than just work commitments demanding their time, so they are simply too tired or discouraged to put in the effort to make room for group wellness and health improvement initiatives.
One more problem in adopting new worksite wellness programs is that many employees lack the knowledge required to recognize how rising health care costs and lowered productivity levels actually affect them, personally.
This makes employees less amenable to change. Often these worksite wellness program terms are thrown around by upper management in ways that do not show how they really affect the day to day life of the participants.
It certainly does not inspire any interest in worksite wellness programs if they are perceived to deal with seemingly impersonal issues.
In order to alter this point of view, worksite wellness programs should educate and promote group wellness as a first step toward changing negative attitudes into a readiness for change.
Planning for Group Wellness: Establishing a Positive Attitude
Another deterrent to the success of worksite wellness programs is that companies give up too soon. Because group wellness is a long term commitment, it takes an average of three years to show a significant return on the investment.
Due to the lack of uniform, available data, companies do not have the bottom line in front of them to persuade them to persevere with the worksite wellness program. This causes employers to pare down worksite wellness program services.
The end result is too many separate, unrelated parts that do not achieve group wellness goals because they are not designed or integrated sufficiently.
Health risks that are not addressed, increase in severity and continue the cycle of rising health care costs. While many health promotion initiatives are highly effective, some are not, but without the proper evaluative tools, this conclusion cannot be drawn nor can more effective adjustments be made.
There are independent wellness companies, such as Wellness Proposals, that are designed to provide a centralized approach and assist with the development of a strategic business plan.
Worksite Wellness Programs: Target Groups
It may come as a surprise to some employers that the eighty percent of health care costs are instigated by five to twenty percent of the employee population. While this may seem like the logical place to reduce costs, it actually is not.
The larger group is the better target for cost reduction because it is easier to address moderately unhealthy people than it is to tackle chronically or seriously ill individuals. Addressing lowered employee productivity rates is also the more likely candidate for generating income and boosting profits.
Tracking attendance is not as straight forward as it used to be, especially in the industry of communications where the quality is measured more often than the quantity. For industries that depend upon a team focus, missing one individual on a consistent basis disrupts the work cycle and permeates the productivity of the whole group.
This provides good reason to target the reduction of absenteeism and presenteeism as a viable group wellness objective.
Writer Bio: John Bates is a leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer about all aspects of health and wellness programs. His work can be found on numerous wellness websites including his own: Infinite Wellness Solution’s and Infinite Health Coach.