Annual Wellness Program Planning: Is It Worth the Effort?

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Wellness planning
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Wellness planning

Annual Wellness Program Planning: Is it Worth the Effort?

Yes, planning takes time and extra thought. In an article published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (June 14, 2021) author Dr. Paul Terry, highlights HERO data regarding organizations with written objectives vs those with none. Only 6% of companies with no plan reported significant health risk improvement versus 21% improvement in those with a plan. Although there is a clear connection between planning and outcomes, 44% of companies report having no plan. An annual wellness program plan provides focus and direction and ensures you can measure whether you are achieving your outcomes.

Three tips for Creating Your Annual Wellness Program Plan

1. Include Goals, Objectives, and Metrics

Annual wellness plans should include Goals, Objectives, and Metrics. The depth of your wellness plan should align with the maturity of your program. If your program is fairly young, goals around building infrastructure, communication, and participation should be the focus. If your program is more mature, aligning with the “data” (claims, pharmacy, risk management, engagement surveys, health assessment, and employee interest surveys) and other key corporate objectives should be the focus. Whether young or mature, goals set a focus and should address both the needs and wants of your employees.

As HealthSource works with clients through the planning process, we recommend having three to five goals each year. Once your wellness program hits the three-to-four-year mark, you should move to a three-year strategy with loftier goals that are executed over time.

     Here is a sample of some basic goals:

Younger program:

Goal: 65% of employees will participate in at least one team-based event

Objective: Offer 1 team-based event per quarter to drive connection and socialization

Metric: Track # of participants engaged in each event

Mature program:

Goal: Engage 10% of the population with elevated glucose levels into (name specialty program here).

Objective: Raise awareness about diabetes, at both a corporate and individual level, through monthly communications. Encourage enrollment in (specialty program) through targeted communications.

Metric: Track # of participants who enroll in (specialty program)

In your efforts to drive participation make sure you promote these goals to your employees. If you are trying to get 65% to participate…let them know! This doesn’t work for every goal, but for those it does, make sure to promote it.

2. Balance Needs and Wants

Have you asked employees what kind of support they would like? Too often, we base our wellness programming off data. This allows objective measures to drive what employers need to get a better handle on escalating issues such as health care costs. However, we need to balance data (needs) with the subjective “wants” to truly engage employees. During these difficult times, consider letting go of the needs and focusing more on the wants. Employees don’t want wellness “done” to them. Move past the idea of checking the box or doing X number of programs. With the pace of the world right now, we need to slow down and ASK employees what they need most right now.

3. Make it FUN!

 Especially now, employees don’t want wellness to feel like one-more-thing on their To-do list. Burnout is prevalent as noted by the “great resignation.”  How do we keep employees and let them know how much we care? It starts with letting employees know how valuable they are. I love the message about spreading goodness from Paul Batz at Good Leadership Enterprises. He emphasizes four cornerstones in spreading goodness: Reward Excellence, Live Generously, Promote Fairness and Spread Positivity. Here’s a few ideas on how HealthSource Solutions ties our wellness program to these.

  • Rewarding excellence: CEO Connection to say “Thanks” (one-on-one with all staff 2x year). A card from leadership tying our core values with how their work aligns with our mission to Empower Employee Wellbeing.
  • Living generously: We provide PTO to encourage staff to spend time supporting a mission that speaks to them. We also connect with corporate opportunities as well -- Adopt a family each holiday; volunteer quarterly at a food shelf; support a local charity with annual donation; shoe drive.
  • Promoting fairness: Actively grow all our staff as leaders. We do this through internal and external learnings as well as including as part of a regular conversation at staff monthly one-on-ones.
  • Spreading positivity: we weave this topic into our weekly meetings by starting the meeting with a personal and professional “best”. We also work to connect staff through fun events and a monthly zoom coffee chat.

When these events are promoted as part of your wellness plan, and aligned with the organizations core values and vision, they turn from just another activity into something with meaning and purpose.

If you need help with your annual planning, please keep HealthSource Solutions in mind. We not only develop the plan, but we will also help you do it and keep you accountable for making it happen!

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