Author: Ami Bolles, Health and Well-Being Strategist

As a health and wellness expert, I get questions all the time regarding wellness and well-being programs. Many people are looking to just get something in place to say they have a program, but is that the reason to have a wellness or well-being program? A wellness/well-being program should be so much more than this. I am excited to share with you a series of articles on the subject of why an organization should offer a wellness or well-being program. Through this series, we will share with you the importance of having healthcare educated employees engaged in their own wellness and well-being. Let’s first address why should an organization offer a wellness or well-being program.

Many organizations implement wellness and well-being programs every year. Have you or are you considering starting a program with your organization? Before jumping in feet first with a program, take a step back. As important as it is to offer a wellness or well-being program, it is equally important to make sure you are ready, have a solid strategy in place and ensure your employees are on board.

Are You Ready?

A great way to gauge if your population is ready for a wellness or well-being program is to use an organization assessment. Once completed, the tool not only measures readiness but can it can also be a useful tool in designing what the program will look like as well as provide a benchmark to monitor progress and changes. Done the right way, an organization assessment is a means to gather feedback as well as buy in from your staff.

Assessments are equally useful post program implementation to ensure that the program is effective and that you are keeping topics relevant to your population. These assessments are often referred as cultural and environmental survey and can be delivered through electronic surveys or through in person focus groups.

Your Wellness Toolbox
Below are links to a few sample assessments a wellness partner may utilize to gauge readiness and assist in program design and relevance after implementation.

Pre Implementation Program Assessment (pre-implementation)

Post Program Implementation (post program implementation – years 1+)

You Are Ready. What is Your Strategy?

You have completed assessments and determined your organization is ready for a wellness program. As a leader of your organization, what is motivating you to offer the program? Return on investment (ROI) or because a wellness program is “The Right Thing to Do”; often referred to as value on investment (VOI)? There is no correct answer although I believe both ROI and VOI should be factored into your strategy.

In the corporate climate the driver of most programming comes down to money and the bottom-line. A good wellness program can positively impact an organization’s bottom-line and reduce costs; but it is important to realize that it may take time to see the ROI. It isn’t realistic to think you will see immediate ROI impact. This is important to keep in mind as you look for a partner to implement wellness; be weary of those touting immediate results.

An initial focus should be that a wellness program for your population is simply the right thing to do and that you will see value on investment. This value may come in the form of many benefits not solely focused on money such as a drop in absenteeism and retention of your staff.

Avoid the “Doing Wellness TO Your Population” Pitfall
As I noted above, taking the time to assess your population allows you to identify relevant topics and activities based on their needs. As more and more wellness companies come into the market, it is imperative to partner with one who sees the value in these assessments rather than just putting a wellness program in place that employees may view as punishment and forced upon them to “do wellness”.