Do More for Employees…Implement a Wellness Program

Employers are constantly looking for ways to ensure a healthy workforce.  We have to look outside the traditional benefit plan box to make this happen.  Wellness programs are a way of engaging the employees as well encouraging a more productive workplace.  The idea of wellness programs and level of importance are high with most employers, however putting together a plan of action and implementing such a program is a different story.

Traditional EAPs (employee assistance plans), are a good place to start for an employee wellness offering, but too many employers simply stop there.  Taking the wellness initiative to another level, employers have to better understand the overall health of their organization.

In general, employers have to better understand what is driving the health costs under the benefit plan.  What are the main therapeutic classifications for drug claims?  A clear understanding of these items would be a good starting point for the direction of the wellness program.  It will lead to a much more proactive approach to wellness.  For instance, high incidence of cardio vascular drug claims / issues, might lead to on-site nutrition/diet classes, or running or walking groups at lunch, etc.   Another way to better understand employee health is with on-line health risk assessment tools.  Having employees complete these assessments that are often available through the carrier website, is a very good way to assist with the direction the wellness program.

There should also be goals associated with the wellness program.   The employer should have goals in mind, perhaps such as, reducing overall benefit plan cost; increased productivity; better performance; better overall employee health, etc.  Measuring these outcomes is crucial to the viability of the wellness program.

Once the proper direction is determined, implementing a proactive, progressive wellness program should ensure overall better health for employees, and positive returns for the employer organization.

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