Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wellness Programs and Departments Vary in Size and Participation Levels

Worksite wellness program directors are constantly trying to obtain funding and management support, but their health promotion program efforts may be used by hundreds of employees or only a handful of individuals, according to findings of the exclusive ROI survey conducted by Wellness Program Management Advisor.

Department Size

More than 150 wellness program managers responded to our survey; some respondents have a significant number of employees in their departments, while others virtually go it alone, according to the findings.

Thirty-four percent of the respondents said they operate a one-person department; 12 percent said two people comprise their wellness departments and 10 percent said three people staff the department, the study found. Twelve percent said their departments consist of between four and five people, while another 13 percent have between six and 12 department members, according to the findings.

Only 4 percent of the respondents said their departments have between 15 and 25 employees, and only 1 percent said their departments consisted of between 50 and 65 people, the study noted.

Employee Participation

Seventy-five percent, or 115 respondents, said less than 50 percent of employees participate in their company wellness programs; however, 25 percent, or 39 respondents, said more than 50 percent of company employees are active members of worksite wellness programs.

“We are always trying to increase employee participation; it’s a constant ‘brain drain,’” said a wellness program director who manages a staff of six for an employee involvement level that falls below the 50 percent mark.

ROI Survey Results: Employee Wellness Program Participation
Percent of Respondents Company Wellness Program Participation
75 percent Less than 50 percent of company employees
25 percent More than 50 percent of company employees

Source: Wellness Program Management Advisor

“We conduct in-house surveys to try and determine what types of programs employees need or want,” the respondent continued. “Maybe participation isn’t where we want it to be because we’re not addressing the issues that are really important to the people who work here. If that turns out to be the case, we have to correct the situation without delay.”

A manager with a staff of three says although more than 50 percent of the company’s workers are involved in the corporation’s health promotion programs, the participation level is never a sure thing.

“Over the past five years, the amount of employee involvement has bounced around quite a bit,” the manager noted. “I need to keep those numbers up if I expect to get management support and funding for future programs. If there is a less than enthusiastic response to [the wellness programs] we offer, it is harder to justify expenditures.”

Program Evaluation

Seventy-eight percent of the respondents said they evaluate the results of their wellness programs, while only 7 percent said they do not conduct evaluations, the survey reported.

One percent said although they do not conduct program evaluations at the present time, they plan to do so in the near term; another 1 percent said they do not presently evaluate results and do not plan to change their policy, the study found.

Address: Wellness Program Management Advisor, 1913 Atlantic Ave., Suite S 200, Manasquan, NJ 08736; (732) 292-1100


Pedometers Anyone?

Every so often, the subject of good, reliable, and inexpensive pedometers comes up on our Wellness Manager Discussion Group.

Wellness managers, whose programs include walking, like the pedometers to help motivate and excite their organizations walking program participants.

The pedometer topic is one we “recycle” on the Group typically when a wellness manager is or has just begun a walking initiative.

Here are some bits and pieces of the most recent posts on pedometers from the Group.

The question:
“I am coordinating a corporate wellness walking program. I would like to
include pedometers. Please recommend vendors that you’ve used in the
past that offer really good functioning pedometers averagely priced
$4.00 – $5.00 per pedometer.”

I suggest pedometers for $1 from Dollar Tree. They are as accurate as
$10 pedometers. If money is no object try the Omron HJ-720ITC which is
now $29 on Amazon. It comes with a USB cable and you can download data to your PC. The software can also be used to import blood pressure
readings from compatible BP cuffs from Omron.”

“Check the February 09 issue of Consumers Report magazine. They recently rated pedometers. You’ll find the better quality, more expensive models listed – not best for bulk purchase in a corporate program. But, at a
minimum it will be a great resource for your employees if they would
like to purchase some on their own.”

Then, that discussion thread ran into other related points including that of pedometer fatigue.

“Very good idea. My experience after running several pedometer programs is that some people try it for up to a week and quit. A significant
proportion are satisfied with the device and complete most of the
program and then there are the people who want a more accurate device
and purchase their own.”

“We have competitions frequently, Step Challenges, and our associates
form teams to compete against each other for prizes. Usually we give
1st, 2nd, 3rd place prizes to the teams that have the most steps. We do
these frequently throughout the year. Sometimes prizes are as simple as
movie passes but the competition is what gets people pumped!”

There is a wealth of knowledge on the use of pedometers that can be found in the archive of the Wellness Manager Group.

There are just over 1,400 members of the Group. If you are a wellness professional by any title, you are eligible to join the Group.

Just go to:

The Group is one of the services offered by Wellness Program Management Advisor and the Wellness Management Information Center.