Components of Employee Wellness Programs
Choosing Appropriate Interventions
The first step in choosing appropriate wellness interventions is revisiting a company’s health and wellness concerns, the individual’s interests, the wellness program’s goals and objectives, and the amount of money and resources available and tying your employee wellness programming decisions back to the data. The bottom line is you will want to encourage healthy behavior changes from your employees.
Health Risk Assessments
Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) can be used to stimulate the interest of your employees and to fuel the employee’s desire for behavior change or movement in the stage of readiness to change. The Health Risk Assessment should be used to establish a database that can be used for counseling and high risk intervention. This also implies that where Health Risk Assessments are used, there should be a health coaching / behavioral intervention to improve the individuals’ relative health status or help change their stage of readiness.
Employee Health Screenings
- Blood Pressure Screening
- BMI / Body Composition Screenings
- Hearing Screening
- Vision Testing
- Cholesterol Screening / Lipid Profile Screenings
- Glucose Tests
- Bone Density Tests
- Onsite Mammograms
- Immunizations and Flu Shots
Wellness Program Components: Delivery Methods:
Health Coaching / Wellness Coaching can be used for all employees or for a specific group of people who are found to be at “high-risk”. Health Coaching / Wellness Coaching motivates employees to make positive changes and to stick with them. Health Coaches / Wellness coaches help the employee explore their personal goals and options for success, while helping the employee identify potential barriers to success and create a plan of action to address the barriers.
Healthy Behavior Challenges
Healthy lifestyle (behavior) contests or campaigns provide people with the opportunity to try out new behaviors (Skill Building) within the structure and with the support of an organized event. These campaigns are most effective when they are designed to appeal to a broad range of people in the population, from those who may already be practicing the behavior to those who are not. They will also focus on an incremental change in individual behavior that is an improvement over the current state, rather than meeting what may be a lofty, hard to attain goal set against a national norm. As well, effective campaigns and contests focus on the bigger picture of individual health status and a variety of lifestyle choices that relate to optimal health, such as, increases in physical activity, making healthier food choices, and improved self-esteem.
Educational Health and Wellness Classes
Educational health and wellness classes are on-going programs that often last from 4-8 weeks. These health and wellness classes allow participants to better understand the issue and how to improve their own health.
Medical self-care is the newest sector that is proving to improve outcomes in wellness. Medical self-care programs are aimed at lowering the demand for health care by improving employee decision making skills as related to health care and quality of the self-care skills they practice.
It also increases effective communication skills around health care providers so they can be better informed about their potential choices and options for medical care. Some self-care programs might include: offering CPR classes, routine blood pressure screens and providing information on book or web based self-care options.
Miscellaneous Wellness Program Delivery Methods
- Lunchtime Learning Seminars / Wellness Seminars
- Employee Wellness Newsletters
- Online Wellness Tools and Wellness Resources
Wellness Program Components: Health Topics
- Nutrition Programs – Discuss optimal nutritional intake with emphasis on whole grains, healthy fats, adequate protein intake and abundance of fruits and vegetables.
- Physical Activity Programs – Promoting increased physical activity is the most effective way to improve overall health. As a bonus, you should see a decrease in injury/disability claims.
- Tobacco Cessation (Smoking Cessation) Programs – There is no doubt that tobacco cessation programs are needed and that even if only a small percentage of participants quit and stay quit, the financial ROI is amazing. The average smoker attempts quitting 7 times before they are finally able to stay quit. Offer this program when your employees express an interest in trying to quit tobacco.
- Weight Management Programs – One of the most frequently requested programs is for weight management. This program utilizes healthy nutritional choices, portion control, strength training and aerobic activity.
- Injury Prevention and Ergonomic Programs – A program for the workplace setting which promotes the use of stretching, proper body alignment for desk and terminal stations, as well as back care and lifting safety tips.
- Substance Abuse Programs – Studies have shown that the use of brief counseling for alcohol abuse has proven to be an effective deterrent to alcohol misuse. There is no doubt that substance abuse counselors offer much in the way of helping steer former addicts towards a life of good health and wellness.
- Cholesterol Management Programs – Screenings with educational information and follow up have yielded improvements in overall cholesterol scores. Education on management is a more important factor than just knowing your scores.
- Hypertension Management Programs – Again, knowing what to do to manage hypertension, along with education on the risk factors associated with hypertension yield better health outcomes.
- Diabetes Management Programs – Many American workers are pre-diabetic, or have metabolic syndrome. Recognizing what our risks are and how to manage them should lead to better health outcomes, including better utilization of medical resources.
- Women’s Health / Men’s Health – For recognizing gender related health concerns. Provision of education on management as we age.
- Mental Health / Stress Management Programs – Stress management programs help employees, not just at work, but at home and with their families. Reducing stress should have an impact on weight maintenance, absenteeism, injury/disability claims and conflict resolution.
- Cancer Prevention Programs – Covers risk factors for cancer and how to modify our lifestyles to improve our odds of preventing many different types of cancer.
- Financial Wellness Programs – Finances seem to be a huge barrier to self care for most people. This segment offers basic information on financial management with resources to help improve our financial health as well as our physical, mental and emotional health.
- Time Management Skills – Managing our time is a skill which we can all cultivate. Time management includes time for yourself and learning how to prioritize.
- Asthma Management Programs – Education on asthma management, including medications, symptoms, triggers, nutritional support, and self-help tips, etc. to minimize need for absenteeism or urgent care.
- Allergy Programming – Allergies are another cause of missed work. Learn how to manage your health during allergy seasons and how to modify your home to minimize risk of allergens.
- Caregiver Resources and Assistance – Covers resources for caregivers, steps to promoting independence and common concerns when caring for others.