Category Archives: reaching those who need wellness

Survey: Employers Want More Value in Health and Wellness Programs

Employers are putting a broader focus on the overall value of health management within a workplace, according to the ninth annual Willis Health and Productivity Survey.

Employers offering health and wellness programs are looking beyond the financial bottom line to evaluate success, according to a new study released this month.

Employers are putting a broader focus on the overall value of health management within a workplace, according to the ninth annual Willis Health and Productivity Survey.

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BEST PRACTICES FOR MANAGING FORMAL INCENTIVES THAT DRIVE EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT IN WORKPLACE WELLNESS AND HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAMS

Discover the latest generation of financial wellness incentives that are seen as an effective way to moderate healthcare cost increases and improve employee well being.

This report will help you and your organization establish best practices in administering your work site wellness program.

Click hear for details: Incentives That Drive Employee Participation in Wellness Programs

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A unit of Willis Group Holdings plc, a global risk advisor, insurance broker and reinsurance broker.

The survey called 2015 a “watershed year” for employer-sponsored health and wellness programs. Willis saw two different mindsets emerging in how organizations approach the measurement of wellness program success.

More organizations are realizing the expectation of an immediate return on investment (ROI) for their wellness programs though medical cost reduction is unlikely, the report states. The survey showed more organizations are focusing on the value of investment (VOI) of a program, which is based on factors that include employee morale, worksite productivity, employee absence and safety.

The survey of 703 respondents showed 64 percent with VOI-focused wellness programs compared to 28 percent with ROI-focused programs.

For full details click here: Employers Want More Value in Health – Wellness Programs

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Web-Based Health Promotion Program, Specially Designed For Truck Drivers

A fairly new program incorporating Web-based education is improving the health outcomes of truck drivers – a prime example of “lone workers,” according to results of a study.

Lone workers are at a special risk for poor diet due to limited healthy food choices, opportunities for exercise, and limited access to workplace wellness programs.

Truck drivers face the specific risks of obesity, diabetes, and traffic risks, according to Ryan Olson, PhD, and colleagues at the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland who conducted the study.

After six months enrolled in the program, truckers reduced their weight by nearly eight pounds, on average, and improved their diets by reducing consumptions of fats and sugars, according to the study findings. An increase in physical activity was also noted. Continue reading

Health Fairs Done The Right Way – To “Capitivate People”

A key piece of a successful workplace wellness program is a well planned and organized well attended health fair with measured outcomes, believe members of our Wellness Manager Professional Discussion Group on Yahoo.

My organization puts on a number of health fairs every year for our
employee base, posted a group member.

“We have tried numerous activities and displays. We’d like to provide
something that would truly captivate people but not cost very much to
provide,” she wrote

“Does anyone have any recommendations? Any suggestions?”

Unfortunately, many health fair organizers do not clearly define what the goals and objectives are for their health fair when planning their event, responded a veteran wellness and health promotion professional.

“As a result, the health fairs can be too generic and superficial to provide participants with meaningful information and resources for making changes in their lives,” she said.

When designing a health fair, ask questions. “What changes in the
participants do health fair organizers hope to achieve? What are the unique
needs of the target audience?”

If it is an organizational problem being targeted, what environmental issues
impact on the behavior? After answering such questions, put together a health fair that specifically addresses each of the identified issues, she suggested.

You need a measurement plan for the health fair goals, offered another member.

“Most only count number of participants, but you could count the specific number of each brochure that was picked up, you could count number of participants visiting each booth,” he said.

Or even better would be  Continue reading

Person-To-Person Can Make The Difference For Workplace Wellness Program

Personal involvement with participants seemed to drive up satisfaction with wellness initiatives, said Patty Clavier, Intel senior project manager, when discussing Intel’s global health wellness program during a webinar  sponsored by Wellness Management Information Center.

Between the two different types of coaching offered – on-site or telephonic –the highest rates of satisfaction are associated with personal face-to-face coaching, Clavier explained.

In both the U.S. and across the globe, two different health risk assessments are used, said Clavier, but people tend to “prefer the idea of working with Continue reading

Incentives For Participation Seen As A Core Program Element Necessary To Drive Participation

Although the use of incentives to motivate employees or members to participate in wellness programs continues to be debated, wellness professionals see the use of incentives as an important part of the over all programs goals for success found the “Workplace Wellness Program Management Survey.”

“Incentives are important to get those employees motivated and participating in programs that they may have not taken part in otherwise,” Continue reading

Wellness Program Participation – Getting Your Employees or Members to Agree to Have the Health Risk Assessment

Veteran wellness and health promotion managers know well that to the key to a successful, ongoing workplace wellness program is participation.

How “ya gonna keep ‘em coming back?’

And, a key piece of a successful wellness program is the health fair with screening – the health risk assessment (HRA.)

Despite much research and searching one member of the Wellness Manager discussion group on Yahoo, reported that although she had read many articles recently on health risk assessments she could not seem to find what she was looking for. Continue reading

Are Some Smokers Actually Healthy?

So, Are Some Smokers Actually Healthy?
I am curious…As a wellness professional, do you consider someone who smokes to be healthy, asked a member of our Wellness Manager Discussion Group.

That simple question stirred up quite a debate among the wellness professionals. Continue reading

How to develop lasting behavior change among your employees\members

Posts related to lifestyle and behavioral issues have come up 447 times in discussions among members of Wellness Manager Discussion Group sponsored by the Wellness Management Information Center.

Behavioral change is a key goal of any worksite wellness program.

Changing the behavior of employees in a wellness management education and training program “How to Help Employees\Members Adopt Healthy Behavior Changes That Last.”

Michael White, a Partner in WELL Street, was the presenter.

The  program was  one in a four-part Workplace Wellness Management Education and Training Series that had outstanding evaluations by participants.

For information on the program please click on this link now:
http://www.healthresourcesonline.com/edu/Creating-Behavior-Change.htm

Organizational Readiness for Prevention

Interview with Dr. Joel Bennett

Question: What do you mean by “organizational readiness” or “prevention readiness?”

Answer: My quick answer is real behavioral change is Incremental, not Seismic. Readiness refers to the capacity of the organization—especially relevant key players (leaders, wellness coordinators, health champions)—to listen to and proactively respond to the unique health needs of its members. Such responsiveness is driven by the climate of the organization and its openness to change.

There is a  great deal of theory and research on organizational change and, during the 1980s, a whole field of “change management” specialists and consultants came into being and grew. At their best, change strategies are systematic and intentional “planned changes” that enhance or preserve the well-being of a company (efficiency, profits, AND employee health). One insight that came from these efforts is that “off the shelf” programs (learning, training, or otherwise) that come from one company or vendor may be less effective in another setting unless the program is modified or adapted to best fit the new setting.

Put another way, some workplaces are more ready to change than others and, subsequently, more ready to receive, implement, and benefit from wellness program. Your “best fit” is enhanced when you match the program to the readiness level and incrementally “nudge” well-being.

Question: Why is it important for workplaces to consider their level of readiness as part of their workplace health promotion efforts?

Answer: It makes little financial sense to throw money at a problem that is not ready for help. Changes occurs gradually, incrementally. The time you take to understand readiness now will save money later. You think more carefully about where you are spending your money.

Let’s use the analogy of a cigarette smoker but you can refer to any addictive process. (By the way, most of the healthcare costs employers face are due to addictive processes: overeating, tobacco, alcohol, and workaholism). If the smoker is using tobacco at a high rate, say two packs a day, you will have a hard time convincing them to quit completely than if you (a) help him/her identify when and how they can reduce their use, and (b) ask them to tell you why (costs/benefits) they should reduce use—i.e., help them to motivate themselves.

To do so, you – as a coach or therapist – have to discover their own interest in stopping an old (unhealthy) behavior or starting a new (healthy) behavior. This discovery depends upon your ability to listen to their interest in stopping—their needs, desires, values, hopes, etc. If they are in denial, your response (your strategy) will be entirely different than if they are eager to change.

Similar, when it comes to the entire workplace, you run a financial-risk if you just give everyone the same program because it is new, fancy, web-based, colorful, etc.. Many workplaces are realizing that there is no magic bullet. You have to listen to worker needs and motivate them where they are. Readiness levels tell you where they are.

Question:  So, is readiness assessment only useful for those who are just beginning programs?

Answer: Planning is always good. First, workplaces are dynamic; they keep changing. Your readiness can actually change—move forward or backward or follow a cycle.

Remember the change theory I spoke about earlier? Organizations can sometimes “freeze” in their readiness and the best investment is helping them to be more open (“unfreezing”) to receiving programs than in just giving them programs.

We call that capacity building. Second, the workforce is heterogeneous or diverse. Some groups, worksites, departments, stores are more ready than others. In fact, some organizations have a “best practice” unit in wellness that has just naturally evolved without any outside vendor or program. It is always better to tap your own internal resources.

You may have a diamond in the rough. So your assessment should be done on different units. Third, whether you are new or old it is always good to refresh. We sometimes make assumptions that the ways things are are the “way things are” and fail to test our assumptions.

Question: What are the core features of readiness?

Answer: We have identified five core cultural features that we think pertain to any workplace. There are other important features concerning the wellness champion or internal advocate as well, but these five have to do with factors inside the work setting.

First, and most basic, what kinds of resources and materials do you have? This includes budget, space, and communication capacity.

Second, what kind of internal support do you have from leadership and administration? Companies can make the mistake of allocating budget to program materials before they gain senior support as well as coworker attitudes for the program.

Third, is the climate at work proactive or reactive? This goes back to the “change management” ideas and “resistance to change.” Your program will look much different if you already have effective policies in place (e.g., safety, drug-free workplace) that are respected and you face problems head on.

Fourth, adaptability. This is my favorite and it has to do with a willingness to grow, to face challenges, and to experiment.

Fifth, and this ties into the learning and training function: Do supervisors, co-workers, and policies make your workplace a learning organization?

Question: How will assessment benefit the business from an economic perspective? Does this have anything to do with return-on-investment?

Answer: Remember the smoking analogy and where to best leverage your communications. A readiness assessment can help you maximize your return-on-investment because you think more carefully about your current risks and strengths.

If your spending more time and money on materials and resources when you tend to be a very routine-oriented and reactive organization, you may want to re-think where your budget should go and create a phased approach. Spend more time talking to managers about the program, get them on board, have retreats, ask for their input into the program. This could yield a better return in the long-run.

Question: What do you need to do to be most successful with the data you collect in an assessment?

Answer: Action planning and Follow-up. Don’t just leave the data on the shelf. Come back to it 6- and 12-months later. Review the information with leadership and the key players I mentioned earlier.

Ask for their input and create a plan TOGETHER. This is key. If you focus on “meeting folks where they are” and plan accordingly, success will come. This will be more effective than just blindly launching a campaign.

In fact, campaigns can hurt you because workers may feel you are not really paying attention to their needs and feel you are coming “form left field.” You can generate more resistance. So, success comes from care and attention paid to “what is” – your current level of readiness.

Editor’s Note:  Joel B. Bennett is President of Organizational Wellness & Learning Systems, Fort Worth, Texas, 76107  817.921.4260 www.organizationalwellness.com

Dr. Bennett will present an educational program “Organizational Readiness For Workplace Wellness: Are You Ready? Thursday, August 19, 2010, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT

For details on the program visit: http://www.healthresourcesonline.com/edu/Organizational-Workplace-Wellness.htm

The program has been organized by the Wellness Management Information Center.

Workplace Wellness And Social Media – Testing The Waters

Over the past months the editors of Wellness Program Management Advisor have been testing the waters of what is termed “social media” LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Here is our status report:

We have more than 1050 members of our Workplace Wellness Management Group on LinkedIn. New members sign up just about every day.

On Twitter we have 550 followers thus far without actively promoting it.

Over on Facebook we created a page for the Wellness Management Information Center. Posts on our “wall” include new items of interest, information about new blog posts, Tweets from Twitter, etc. So far, we have 130 fans and could use a few more.

From the beginning I had the feeling that Facebook, Twitter and the others can be useful tools for wellness professionals to reach your audiences in different ways. Now I am more convinced than ever that this will work in time.

New Tools For Wellness Programs  

Yes, there is a lot of “drivel” on Twitter with many posting too darn many Tweets with little or no substance. Who knows, Twitter may still be only a passing fad. But it is certainly drawing large numbers of professionals who are connecting and sharing in new ways.

Facebook combines the whats-on-your-mind idea of Twitter with its wall posts, and also provides opportunities to post to events, share discussions, photos, videos, ideas, and links.

I can see where many nominally tech savvy wellness managers could easily take advantage of the various tools on Facebook to help expand the reach of their programs. But Facebook also has a lot of people posting who just have too much time on their hands.

We have seen several professional associations using Twitter to make brief announcements about programs they are sponsoring for their members.

Many of the most highly regarded health organizations maintain an active presence on Twitter including the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, American Diabetes Association, YMCAs, Kaiser Permanente, the Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and Yale-New Haven Hospital. There are many more.

Here are links to the social media activities which we sponsor where we really are reaching new audiences:

We are known as Wellness Adviser on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/wellnessadviser

Wellness Management Information Center on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/WellnessManagement

Workplace Wellness Management on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=1456627&trk=anet_ug_grppro

Wellness Manager Discussion Group http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/WellnessManager

If you ask me, our Wellness Manager Discussion Group on Yahoo with more than 1,400 members is the granddaddy of social media in the wellness professional universe.

Come Join us.  Join in the networking and problem solving.

Bob Jenkins