Employers: 9 wellness wants

9. Initiate and integrate 9. Initiate and integrate

Wellness programs that are included as part of an employee's benefit plan provide a seamless program that streamlines education and communication.
These best practices and tips are courtesy of American Specialty Health and Healthyroads, a provider of total population health and wellness solutions.
"Motivating lasting behavior change is not easy; health improvement programs compete with employees' other life demands," says Healthyroads CEO and Chairman George DeVries. "But following these best practices can help you get their attention and give them rewarding reasons to get involved. Then everyone wins."

8.Onsite educational activities 8.Onsite educational activities

Research local or community resources available to provide lunch and learns, health fairs, gym membership discounts and onsite massage therapy for employees.

7. Promote a culture of wellness 7. Promote a culture of wellness

Get the whole company involved in the process of health improvement. Plan sponsors should encourage healthy alternatives at luncheons, offer health food in vending machines, organize lunchtime run/walk cubs and also they can replace office chairs with exercise balls as seen above.

6.Implement onsite health activites throughout the year 6.Implement onsite health activites throughout the year

This will generate awareness and enthusiasm especially when set up as competitions.

5. Provide consistent, multi-faceted communication touch-points throughout the course of the year 5. Provide consistent, multi-faceted communication touch-points throughout the course of the year

Oftentimes plan sponsors want to believe they can simply "launch" a health improvement program and employees who need it most will participate. That is often not the case. It may take many messages to get through to some people. Brokers must vary the mode in which plan sponsors can communicate their efforts by using posters, emails, meetings, contests, bulletin boards, onsite health activities, etc. Different approaches get through to different people.

4.Building a champions network 4.Building a champions network

Ideally this network should consist of representatives of the entire plan sponsors' employees, supporting any company-wide health improvement initiatives. The champions are the arms, ears, eyes and legs of the wellness program and can help disseminate information and provide feedback.

3.Seek senior management support 3.Seek senior management support

Is there a manager in the organization who is ready to quit tobacco, lose weight or get fit? Encourage him or her to become a champion of fitness and health, charting their progress along the way for employees to see.

2.Know what motivates plan participants 2.Know what motivates plan participants

Plan sponsors have to set real and achievable goals, then create meaningful incentives to motivate health changes in your culture. Based on human nature, individuals must be mentally ready to make a change before they will engage in healthy activities. Incentives can help stimulate the motivation employees may need to get started or keep going.

1.Understand goals 1.Understand goals

American Specialty Health and Healthyroads deems the No. 1 spot to the importance of understanding employees' goals. Plan sponsors have to know the root causes of their increasing health costs by studying claims data, absenteeism and other issues that can reveal the real causes of the health costs.

Employers want to create a culture of health at the workplace and look to their broker to help them make wellness programs a success.
Employers are looking to implement sustainable, long-term programs that can reduce company health costs, increase employee productivity and morale. American Specialty Health shares nine things employers are looking for that brokers should keep in mind. (Images: Thinkstock)

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