Starting an employee wellness plan may begin with intuition and compassion, but a successful wellness plan is driven by data. If you want a plan that is capable of helping everyone in addition to achieving maximum enrollment, you need to know exactly what to offer, how to offer it, and the goals you wish to reach from your wellness plan.
Employee wellness plans seek to fill the gap between work tasks and the lifestyle created by work expectations. People's lives are so shaped by work that wellness plans play a key role in promoting physical, mental, financial, and social health both during and outside of working hours. But only with data can you reach everyone and confirm that your programs are having the desired effect.
Data can help HR managers and organizational leaders get the most out of their employee wellness programs and ensure buy-in from key stakeholders.
3 Steps to Create a Data-Driven Employee Wellness Program
Every data-driven project begins with a structure. You need to define your goals and what success looks like. When it comes to wellness plans, success can be measured in three primary categories: participation, positive impact, and program efficiency. Participation is typically measured in enrollment, but can also be measured in resource utilization. Positive impact can be measured in employees' overall wellness status and whether employee health increases after a program is effectively implemented.
The efficiency of a wellness program compares the first two metrics to the cost of implementation. This determines whether the program is valuable to the company. You can also measure your total wellness plan by whether it is meeting an overarching goal regarding company-wide wellness standards like lower stress levels and better health.
Using these metrics, you can achieve strategic workforce planning. Hone your employee wellness programs and implementation strategies until you are doing the most good and achieving the greatest efficiency.
Step 1: Define Your Program's Structure
The first step is to create your program, built around a structure that is both beneficial and measurable. Some of the greatest wellness programs separate wellness into specific categories that not only help you to build a more complete system, but also help your employees seek out the wellness programs that will help them most.
Common wellness program categories include:
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Financial Health
- Personal Finances
- Future Planning
- Professional Wellness
- Learning and Development
- Professional Growth
With this structure, you can determine what should be included in your wellness program and start planning implementation. You should also consider factors including how each program will be implemented and whether your leadership or environment are supportive of each initiative.
Step 2: Create a Process
A data-driven wellness program relies on data collection. Start a company pulse survey. Get your employees used to answering a few rapid questions every week. Take a baseline of employee wellness across the board.
With your data structures ready, begin rolling out deployment of your wellness programs. During your process, it's important to gauge the success of your implementation. Determine if your programs are being implemented as planned, on schedule, and if there are any unforeseen barriers that have arisen.
You can also begin measuring enrollment and participation as each program gets started. Consider how best to communicate program availability and benefits to your workforce and how to make each program more accessible for everyone on the team.
Step 3: Define Outcomes
As wellness plan enrollment gets underway, you have the opportunity to immediately begin measuring success. To do this, you will want to define the outcomes you want to see. Determine what milestones will cause you to consider the program successful and how data might help you to optimize your results.
Participation rates have always been the first and most vital metric for wellness plan success. You can set up programs, but they will only be effective if employees enroll and make use of the available resources.
Enrollment is your primary measuring point, but you can also measure how often employees access resources such as attending classes or logging into wellness platforms. Participation may also provide you with important baseline and progress data as employees use programs that assess their current and ongoing state of wellness.
Positive Impact on Employees
Sometimes called people analytics or clinical outcomes, wellness can be measured in how much it is effectively improving the physical and mental health of your employees. By taking a baseline, monitoring through program assessments, and sending out pulse surveys, you have an opportunity to gauge this progress. Some factors that can reflect a positive effect include:
- Health habits - improved eating and exercise routines
- Stress reporting - employees reporting to experience less stress or manage stress more effectively
- Happiness rating - employees self-reporting better moods and optimistic outlooks
- Biometric data - employees willing to wear devices show improvements in their vital signs and physical stats
- Habit cessation - employees successfully quitting or reducing unhealthy habits like smoking
Healthcare Utilization Costs
Employee wellness programs aim to create a healthier workforce. HR leaders find that a valuable way to measure their success is by how much healthcare employees need over time after the wellness programs are in place. This may include:
- Emergency room visits
- Hospitalizations and length of stay
- Sick days and doctors appointments
- Preventative care visits
- Chronic disease compliance rates
Barring medical conditions that cannot be resolved with lifestyle wellness, a good wellness program should see an increase in preventative care and a decrease in emergency care, sick days, overall costs, and the appearance of new health issues.
Financial Outcomes for the Company
How financially efficient has your wellness plan become over time? Determine if reduced healthcare costs, fewer sick days, and greater productivity that comes from healthier employees has balanced out the cost of the wellness program. Financial outcomes can also be measured in things like employee turnover and hiring costs. In high-risk jobs, sufficient wellness can even positively impact your finances with fewer injuries and workers comp claims.
Improving Your Wellness Plan Using the Data
Once you are collecting and assessing comprehensive data from your employee wellness plan, you can start to make improvements. Drop resources that employees don't want, increase high-demand programs, improve enrollment, optimize costs, and expand your roll-out for more greater inclusivity, accessibility, or access by remote workers.
Every set of data points provides an opportunity for improvement. In this way, you are not just assessing the success of your wellness plan using data, your wellness plan becomes data-driven.
Learn How FitOn Health Can Help Your Employees
FitOn Health is an ideal addition to a diverse workforce with both in-person wellness programs and a vast network of fitness content available through our app. Whether your team is on-site, remote, or hybrid, you can make fitness and wellness an essential part of your health and wellness planning. We know that you are trying to build the perfect wellness stack for your team, and FitOn Health has what it takes to get your team moving. Contact us today to explore how we can become part of your wellness plan.
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