Not your parents' wellness program

Best practices to engage dependents in wellness programs

Michael Staufacker, director of program development for StayWell Health Management, offers advice for employers in bringing dependents into the wellness fold:

  • Offer an appropriate incentive. Make sure the incentive is appropriate for your population and has perceived value for employees and covered dependents. Tie incentives to desired behaviors, such as physical activity, rather than outcomes, like achieving a goal weight. Incorporate the incentive into the health benefit plan and consider the effort-reward equation: Is the effort reasonable for most of your population?
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don't forget that the average person receives a message seven times before they remember it. By developing a long-term communications strategy, you can maintain awareness for your program over time, thereby increasing the odds that employees and dependents will take notice and sign up.
  • Offer multiple program options. People learn in different ways. The same is true for health-related behavior change. By offering multiple program modalities, you will appeal to a broader range of people. For instance, weight management programs can be offered in a group setting, through one-on-one health coaching, via personalized e-mails to participants or through literature that's mailed to the home. This makes it easier for dependents to participate in program offerings.


We invite you to participate in an hour-long Web Discussion about Dependent Wellness moderated by Lydell Bridgeford, editor of Employee Benefit News inBrief.


Click here to register for the session:

Topic: Friday Fray: Dependent Wellness
Date: Friday, December 12, 2008
Time: 1:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00, New York)

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