Wellness programs have become a great solution for many companies trying to cut health care costs. As these costs continue to increase, wellness programs offer an effective way of reducing total health claim and prescription usage by educating employees on developing a healthy lifestyle. Healthier employee populations result in lower overall absenteeism – a leading cause of decreased company productivity. Surveys world-wide show that leadership buy-in is key in developing and maintaining a successful program. The following steps can ensure any HR professional greater success in selling their wellness strategy to company leaders:
Get senior management involved
Although senior management prefers to streamline and delegate minor business programs, they are concerned about the impact programs will take on the business. Present your wellness mission and goals to them at the initial phase of the program. Encourage them to participate in the program by setting an example to other employees. Studies show management participation increases employee participation and overall program success.
Research and benchmark
Research case studies and benchmark other wellness programs in the industry. Analyze which steps were most successful, and which were not. Present your information to management, and be receptive to their goals and concerns. Let them know why you believe implementing a program would address employee productivity and health cost concerns for your company. Be prepared to answer questions on ROI, budget, staffing, communication tools, activity planning, and outside resources. Think about your current company culture and analyze how it would be impacted by a wellness program. Let management know how you would assist in and encourage the transition.
Let the numbers do the talking
Present managers with supporting documents. Use Claim Costs and Used Sick Days Reports to demonstrate any productivity loss and claim payouts. Many HRIS systems also allow you to generate additional reports on benefit costs and loss wages. These reports can also be beneficial in supporting your program. If you’re working with a wellness program vendor, request an ROI analysis to present to management.
Tie in wellness strategy to overall business goals
Become familiar with senior management’s current business goals, and demonstrate how a wellness program can allow them to reach these goals sooner. For example, one company’s goal could be to increase employee morale. A possible solution would be to incorporate stress relief techniques – an activity sponsored by the wellness program – to relieve stress at work. A decreased stress level can instantly increase overall morale.
Describe your wellness program’s strategy and implementation
Develop a preliminary vision and mission statement to present to management. This will give management a clear idea of your overall program goals. Think about important program tasks, including:
- Determining implementation department and staff members
- Conducting employee surveys on program preferences
- Researching vendors
- Determining election process for committee members
- Selecting communication tools
- Increasing employee participation (i.e. rewards, contests, and goals)
Describe your plan and be receptive to your leaders’ feedback.
The bottom line
Wellness programs are becoming a great asset for many companies hoping to cut health care costs and increase productivity. Studies show that leadership buy-in is key in developing and maintaining a successful wellness program. Through benchmarking, goal alignment, and development of program strategy, HR professionals can successfully receive leadership buy-in and maintain program success.