Best Practices When Developing a Wellness Plan
- Create committed and aligned leadership: A commitment from the top is key to the success of any wellness initiative. Management must understand the benefits of a wellness program for both the employees and the organization, and be willing to commit to it.
- Foster collaboration: Wellness teams should include a variety of people from all levels of your company. Consider recruiting employees from human resources, legal, marketing, management and administrative staff. These individuals will drive program development, implementation and evaluation.
- Collect meaningful data that will drive your health initiatives and wellness strategy Gathering data to assess employee health interests and risks will help guide you in developing your program and make your program unique to your organization. This process may involve conducting a survey of employee interest in various health initiatives, health risk assessments (HRAs) and claims analysis to determine your current employees’ disease risk.
- Craft an operating plan An annual operating plan is important for your program’s success and should include a mission statement along with specific, measurable short- and long-term goals and objectives. A written plan is instrumental in holding the team accountable to the goals, objectives and timeline agreed upon.
- Choose appropriate health initiatives that support the whole employee The health initiatives that you choose should flow naturally from your data (survey, HRA aggregate report, claims), be cohesive with your goals and objectives and be in line with what both management and employees want from the wellness program.
- Create a supportive environment, policies and practices A supportive environment provides employees with encouragement, opportunity, and rewards. Your workplace should celebrate and reward health achievements and have a management team that models healthy behavior. Most importantly, be sure to involve employees in various aspect of the wellness program from its design and promotion to its implementation and evaluation.
- Conduct evaluations, communicate, celebrate and iterate Evaluation involves taking a close look at your goals and objectives to determine whether you achieved your desired result. Evaluation allows you to celebrate goals that have been achieved and to discontinue or change ineffective initiatives.
Developing an Operating Plan
- Mission Statement All successful and long-lasting wellness programs have clear mission statements. A mission statement should include the values that drive the program along with the ultimate goals the program hopes to achieve.
- Goals To be attainable, goals should be realistic, reflect the needs of both management and employees, have clear time limits, and flow naturally from the data collected.
- Objectives Objectives are the strategies you will implement to achieve your goals. Like goals, they should include specific action steps and timelines, and be written.
- Timeline Develop a realistic timeline to implement and evaluate the program. The timeline will incorporate key dates contained in the objectives and goals. Wellness initiatives generally begin at the start of the new year when people are making resolutions. Wellness activities should be scheduled at times that are convenient for all participants, so it may be necessary to offer multiple opportunities to participate in sessions.
- Budget Your budget may include such items as salaries, program materials, administrative needs, outside vendors, evaluation and the costs associated with incentives. A detailed budget is essential during the evaluation process as program costs are compared to outcomes.
- Communication Plan You must communicate your program to raise employee awareness of the program and drive participation. Your operating plan should address the types of marketing efforts that will be used to inform employees about your wellness plan. Specific communication techniques will vary depending on the size of your company and your budget.
- Implementation Plan This section of the operating plan will provide detailed information about implementing the various health promotion programs and will assign individual responsibilities associated with the offerings.
- Evaluation Plan The final section should address how you will measure the success of your program. Ideally, evaluation will include measuring how well the program is working and whether it is achieving its expected results.