Careful planning, involving employees at every stage of the health and wellness programme, results in greater employee engagement
Weighed down by the problems of runaway costs and looming workforce health problems, forward-looking employers are looking at developing proactive health and productivity strategies that not only allow them to get a better handle on the health of their employees, but also their costs.
But, employers still face many stumbling blocks when it comes to implementation and participation of individual programmes. Through an analysis of research findings as well as its own wellness programme, Towards Wellbeing, Towers Watson has developed a list of best practices for employers that continue to feel their way forward towards health and productivity effectiveness.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
Create a vision: Healthcare is a long-term project. Creating a steering committee to decide on a vision and project goals will provide much-needed clarity upfront.
How we did it: A governance committee comprising of a variety of business and corporate leaders was set up. One of its first actions was to create a philosophy with a vision, mission statement and strategy, which provided clear goals of what we wanted the program to achieve for our associates, while at work, travelling for work and at home.
Get employee feedback: One of the earliest initiatives employers should launch is data gathering to understand the basic health of the organisation. This is important not only to identify a starting point, but later to effectively measure the impact the programme would have. Employee attitudes can be some of the most elusive, but crucial data to capture.
How we did it: We launched a snapshot survey called “Taking your Pulse”, which covered not only employee attitudes towards health, but also how they felt the company supported them.
Give the programme an identity: To make the programme stand out, it is essential to brand it. Give it a name. It also gives a company an opportunity to help employees understand what their healthcare programme is all about.
How we did it: We gave our employees the details of our programme and ran a naming competition. Among the 1,500 associates in the region, we received an impressive 830 entries. One of the reasons for this success was a meaningful incentive for the winning entry— in this case, an iPad. The winning entry was “Towards Wellbeing”, a clear choice as with its play on “TW” and its depiction of a continuous journey.
Launch with a bang: The programme launch will need to create a buzz and awareness to maximise participation.
How we did it: An early step for us was to run discussion groups with our leaders to educate them on where we were going and why and also to ensure that they were travelling on the journey with us. A well-executed launch day campaign ensured high visibility and participation.
Create your organisation’s health profile: When you look at plain data that is accumulated for health assessment, it usually gives you a ‘sickness’ profile of an organisation, while the best way is to look at its health profile.
How we did it: We rolled out a tool called Health Risk Assessment to get overall health profile of the organisation. This tool has a scientific algorithm which not only evaluates yes-no questions but evolves an individual’s answers in totality and screens their health risks.
Use this data to launch evidence-based interventions: It is essential to identify the risk and work to sort it out.
How we did it: At a corporate level, we analysed our data by country, age group, years of service, employment level, gender, work team, and so forth. After analysis, we detected three top risks in our organisation: Stress, diet, and activity, and launched a targeted intervention programme for each.
Communicate, communicate, communicate: This is critical not only to build awareness but also as a point of engagement and interaction.
How we did it: A variety of options from town halls, intranet, videos, emails and posters were effectively put to use.