How do I know if my workplace wellness program is working?

How do I know if my workplace wellness program is working?

The concept of workplace wellness is relatively easy – create a culture that allows people to gain a true understanding of wellness by demystifying the concept of wellness, as well as provide the opportunity to engage in healthy activities that promote optimum wellness, like exercise, nutritious foods, wellness-oriented policies like flexible workspaces, time off and so on. In real life, the hard part is actually doing those things. It’s not about just the program – it’s about how well it’s designed, implemented and integrated with tools to actually meet the individual needs and interests of your employees and the organisational goals and objectives.

As a starting point, ask yourself the following 11 questions to see how your program looks:

  1. Does your company have a culture of wellness…or a culture of illness?
  2. Do all employees know what your wellness program is? Is your wellness program easy and simple to understand? Do you make healthy choices fun or is it more about scary health statistics and health conditions?
  3. Do you provide an ongoing supportive network for employees?
  4. Is your program built around individual employee wellness goals?
  5. Do you personally enjoy participating in the program? Do the other employees enjoy participating in the program?
  6. Do you regularly monitor and track employee wellness progression, engagement and satisfaction?
  7. Is your program fair and available to all employees?
  8. Does your wellness program actually improve workers’ lives? What do participants actually take away from the program? Was knowledge or skills gained? Did they experience a change in attitude, accountability or results?
  9. Is momentum sustainable throughout the year?
  10. Does your wellness program consider the environment and find ways to fit more activity (walking meetings, scooters to save time, wellness challenges) and healthier food options (cafeteria, vending machines) available at work?
  11. Have the organisational KPI’s been met for the program, for example, increased safety, morale, engagement, productivity and staff retention?

Chances are, your answers to these questions will identify two or three gaps in your current workplace wellness program. While it can be disheartening to receive negative feedback, it’s exactly this feedback that will help you and your program to grow to achieve and sustain the wellbeing of your people.

Evaluating your corporate wellness program is important for a variety of reasons. Firstly, evaluation helps you to decide what is working well in your program as well as allowing you to:

  • Try new things with research to quantify why you want to try them;
  • Avoid wasting resources on things that simply aren’t working as well as an alternative that may work better;
  • Establish the aspects of the program that are successful and the recommendations to improve the current gaps, to your key stakeholders

Evaluation is an important aspect of any program however, it does not need to be a daunting or time-consuming task because there are a number of tools that we have developed that will help you to create and evaluate innovative and effective wellness programs.

Why use tools for evaluating your workplace wellness program?

Using evaluation tools can make your role as the leader of wellness initiatives easier as you have your ‘go-to’ templates as it provides a more more efficient, safer, faster and even most-effective program management system as:

  1. You don’t have to hire a full-time staff person or a consultant for evaluation purposes. If resources are already available, there’s no need to pay someone to, or spend your time to, reinvent the wheel;
  2. You can maximise efficiency. Using evaluation tools allows you, as the wellness leader, to get quality work done quickly.
  3. You can avoid wasting resources. Creating your own tools or your own system from scratch is very costly. Using our pre-existing, proven tools will give you what you need and you can always customise them to suit your needs.
  4. You can be confident that you’re getting the right information and results.
  5. You can add value to your wellness program with continuous improvement from using effective tools.

What tools are available to evaluate workplace wellness programs?

Depending on your company culture and the structure of your workplace wellness program, the types of tools you might need can vary.

The best place to start is usually with a Health and Wellness Interest Survey to learn what health and wellness aspects are of interest to your employees and to help plan for future wellness activities and initiatives. If you already have a program in place, a Workplace Assessment Survey will provide insight on how healthy your employees think your workplace wellness program is, what is working and what could be changed to be more effective. Including the people that the program is for is critical for optimum participation and overall success.

Your next step is to attain a benchmark measurement of the current level of wellness of the employees in the organisation with a Wellness Tracking tool. Effective wellness tracking tools provide the employee with empowerment to enable them to monitor, measure and track their own personal wellness progress. For organisations, an effective wellness tracking tool provides an overall measurement of the wellness program and specific information on which areas of the program worked exceptionally well and which areas need tweaking and/or major overhauls to allow for continuous improvement.

The combination of both surveys and the aggregate analysis results of the Wellness Tracker provides you with a great overview of the employee’s needs, the strengths and gaps in the current wellness program.

Your next step is an Organisational Review to confirm your organisation’s current plans and policies around wellness and how well it currently integrates with the mission, other goals and objectives, policies and procedures (written and unwritten) of the organisation. When you know what the strengths and where the gaps are in achieving the wellness goals of the organisation by looking at the entirely of the organisation, you will know where to start working on filling the gaps to strengthen the results of your program.

Now you can put together the wellness strategy for your key stakeholders outlining the scope, goals, objectives, resources required, and the plan to implement, monitor and evaluate the next version of your wellness plan.

The most important thing to remember when evaluating your wellness program is to measure the key aspects that will support that goals and objectives of what you’re looking to ultimately achieve from your wellness program ie. have you achieved what you set out to accomplish from implementing the program.

 

This is an adapted excerpt from course content in the 10299NAT Diploma of Wellness Leadership Program.


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“Some of the best ways we can help our communities is by applying innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to major issues such as obesity and by encouraging healthy living. Though many developed economies are struggling through some tough times, the wellness sector has proved resilient, and some fast-moving businesses are finding success. Many business leaders I know get run down by overwork and by not taking care of themselves; in time this leads to exhaustion and poor decision making.”

Like a Virgin – Richard Branson – Founder of Virgin Group

Angela Derks, ND is the Founder and CEO of the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy (ASWA) - the award winning accredited leader of wellness training and consulting services for organisations. Her life’s work is helping people achieve optimal health, wellbeing and business success through skills-based learning and healthy leadership strategies. She is the lead developer of the nationally recognised Diploma of Wellness qualification, delivering relevant skills to effectively integrate evidence-based wellness and management practices into organisations. ASWA's wellness integration approach empowers and enables individuals and organisations to achieve wellbeing and performance for sustainable success.

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