Wellness Programs

Wellness Programs

Last week we presented our workshop on how to establish and maintain effective wellness programs.  With healthcare costs continuing to rise, they have become more and more popular, and when done correctly have a positive ROI, not to mention improved morale, better productivity, and lower employee turnover.

As was very evident by the attendees, these are not cookie cutter programs, and what’s right for you will completely depend on the size of your organization, your employees, their lifestyle, and the resources you can allocate (both time and money).  Regardless of the actual wellness program, there are a few staples you should consider:

  1. Have a vision statement – any successful program has to be supported from the top of the organization.  Communicate this to everyone!
  2. Find a company leader – Someone has to be the cheerleader and organizer, or your program will more than likely fizzle out.
  3. Do a survey – What are your employees and their families interested in?
  4. Goals – What will you consider a success?  Each item should have a measurable time, and outcome.  For example do you want 10 of your tobacco users to attend a cessation class within the next 6 months?
  5. Start small – Don’t try to do everything at once.  Often the most successful wellness programs are virtually cost free, and very simple.

While there was a great exchange amongst attendees on what they’re currently doing or would like to do with their wellness program, the ‘cautionary’ portion of the seminar was focused on making sure the programs are compliant with various federal and state regulations, to include HIPAA, ADAAA, and GINA.  Unfortunately, we find numerous wellness programs are violating these regulations.  Incentives or rewards, health risk assessments, biometric testing, premium discounts and numerous others can immediately put programs in violation.  I would caution anyone looking to develop a wellness program to become very well versed in what is allowed.  Don’t be afraid of a wellness program, but also know there are substantial limitations on what can and cannot be done.  So if you were going to give each of your employees a new car for losing 20 pounds, I’d hold off.

If you would like assistance with establishing a wellness program within your organization, or modifying your current one, please contact us at beready@clark-mortenson.com.

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