employees and wellness

| 5 years ago

Optimizing Your Employee Wellness Program

Researching, planning and implementing a wellness program that works for your business can be a large undertaking. But once your program is off the ground, what comes next?
Creating and sustaining an effective employee wellness program requires consistent follow up and optimization throughout the program’s life. Knowing how to check in on progress and fine tune your program is a sometimes-overlooked key to success. 

No matter what method you use to analyze your program, it’s important to be inclusive and unbiased in soliciting feedback from employees. Make sure everyone who participates has a fair and equal opportunity to give their feedback and that you get as much feedback as possible. To ensure you receive feedback from a wide range of employees, don’t have them submit it to people they work with regularly or to their direct supervisor. This will help alleviate any fear of repercussions that could hinder honest and open communication. 

Seeking employee feedback is one of the easiest and most effective ways to determine your program’s effectiveness. You can find out what employees think via several methods, including individual check-ins, surveys, “open door” comments or focus groups. These methods will help you gain valuable insight directly from people the program is meant to benefit. This can also be done by your wellness provider to remain neutral in employees’ eyes and alleviate any concern over HIPPA violation. 

People respond differently to varying forms of questions, so it’s important to have a good mix of open-ended and yes or no questions; ask about positives and negatives and include questions that expose people’s perceptions about the program. Personal perceptions are very difficult to change, so if you uncover negative perceptions, it may be time to consider altering your program. 

Once you’ve gathered and assessed this valuable feedback, it’s time to incorporate it. Start by discussing the feedback with the team responsible for administering the program and get them to weigh in on the results. The is a great time to brainstorm and develop additional questions in case anything needs to be clarified before implementing changes.

It’s important to prioritize changes you want to make, because implementing many changes at once can be difficult logistically. Look for ideas that are the easiest to implement, will have a large impact or address a significant concern first. Changes that are difficult to implement and will have the least impact should carry the lowest priority.  

You’ve conducted your research and developed a plan. Now it’s time to share the changes with employees. One of the best ways to encourage engagement is to share the survey information you received and the tools you used to conduct the research with staff. This helps create an environment of transparency and inclusiveness. And, if you don’t share the reason you asked all those questions with employees, they won’t see the value in responding to future surveys. 

Soliciting and incorporating employee feedback can be time intensive and at times overwhelming. You can simplify the process by first creating an outline of steps you will take when conducting research, brainstorming and implementing the program. Your outline will be a useful tool for others who may undertake this responsibility in the future and will help you continually improve your program and evaluation methods.