Report: The healthiest employers use metrics to evaluate their wellness programs
- Wearables maker Fitbit released its 2017 State of Corporate Wellness: Workplace Wellness Programs that Work report on what the healthiest employers are doing to support healthier lifestyles. The report shows that employers are not only offering wellness programs, but also assessing the effectiveness of those programs through metrics.
- The report also shows that the healthiest employers: (1) focus on common health problems like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and depression; (2) emphasize physical fitness by encouraging workers to get at least 75 minutes of exercise each week; (3) recruit managers as health-conscious role models; (4) communicate their wellness programs to employees; and (5) offer employees incentives, such as insurance coverage discounts, for participating in wellness programs.
- Key findings from the report reveal that 54.6% of workplace wellness programs are described as "metrics-driven." Only 7.6% of employers are planning on investing in health analytics software in the next year but 16% of programs already make real-time analytics data available to leadership.
Employers need to know how effective their wellness programs are, and metrics can justify the effort and cost of offering them. Metrics can target which aspects of a wellness program are cost-efficient based on health outcomes and which to slate for elimination because of poor outcomes or low participation. The problem with wellness programs, however, is that they've been historically difficult to track. Changes in health care spending, changes in health care risk and absenteeism are the top metrics that employers are tracking, the Fitbit report says.
But those numbers can't drive all decisions; personalization in wellness programs is critical because a one-size-fits-all approach can overlook employees' individual needs and personal health concerns. Thanks to HR's increased ability to gather and process data, however, personalization is easier to achieve now than it ever has been. But a wellness programs success also depends on HR's ability to engage employees and educate managers on how to approach their employees about wellness initiatives.