If you head up an employee health plan program, you’ve no doubt thought about implementing a health and wellness program in conjunction with your company’s healthcare benefit. Or maybe you already have a company wellness program and want to improve it. For many, this type of offering is essential to employee well-being and happiness on the job, but few programs actually deliver the results employers hope to achieve.
Here, we discuss the importance of employee wellness, and how care coordination solutions drive employee engagement to help employees achieve better health.
What is an employee wellness program?
Employers often implement wellness programs with the help of their insurance companies. Employee benefits solutions and wellness programs may include trainings, seminars, and on-site activities that can help employees manage their overall health or cope with specific physical, mental, or emotional concerns. The thought is that a healthy workforce will promote productivity and reduce costs overall.
In a 2015 article in Employee Benefits News, author John Turner lists three components of a successful employee wellness program: benefit plan design, employee communications, and rewards and incentives. He calls this the “trinity of value.”
These components are all important. However, the most significant aspect of any employee wellness program is the employees themselves. After all, the employees must be engaged in the program in order for it to do any good.
What are the benefits of employee engagement?
Whether or not your company has implemented a wellness program, it’s important to focus on results — that is, improving employee health and wellness in all forms.
Here are three key benefits of wellness programs:
- Reduced healthcare costs: The fact is that healthy employees cost less. When employees take full advantage of their wellness programs, they improve their physical health and prevent serious chronic disease.
- Increased productivity: When employees are well and have a balanced work life, their overall productivity goes up.
- Improved morale: Employee wellness programs let employees know their workplaces care about them and want them to be well. This fact — and opportunities to improve their health — can make employees happier.
Why employees still aren’t participating
Even with all these benefits, employee engagement is one of the trickiest things about wellness programs. In fact, based on results found by the 17th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey, 57% of large employers say that a lack of employee engagement is their biggest obstacle to managing employee health.
Additionally, a Gallup poll shows that although 85% of large employers offer a wellness program, only 60% of U.S. employees are aware of it, and only 40% of employees say they actually participate in the program.
Stats like these make us wonder why employees aren’t engaged in their employer’s wellness programs. There are many reasons, including:
- They don’t feel like they have time
- They find the program offerings confusing
- There may not be programs for their specific needs, such as mental and emotional health programs
- They don’t think their managers are supportive
So, how do you get employees engaged and participating in your wellness program?
How to foster better relationships
When it comes to getting employees involved, relationships are key. Employees need to know that their employers care about them and encourage them to stay actively involved in their own health and well-being.
First, be supportive of healthy behavior, but don’t make it mandatory. Employee health is an important matter, but participation is often a matter of trust and shouldn’t be forced.
Secondly, make it interesting! This is an opportunity for an employee to take advantage of programs that can educate, excite, and encourage staff to take the next step in their own wellness.
Finally, consider new ways of fostering an ongoing relationship with employees. One possibility? Seek out a new healthcare solution centered around care coordination.
How care coordination can help
In the current healthcare system it can be difficult to find an employee advocate, someone to walk members through any medical decisions they may be facing.
Enter care coordinators. These are employee advocates working within specialized healthcare benefits plans to help patients and their families navigate the entire healthcare process — wellness programs included. And with Apta Health, care coordinators are healthcare warriors, fighting for a better member healthcare experience in order to make a difference in the lives of the employees.
Unlike other patient advocates or call center agents, Apta Health’s care coordinators integrate all aspects of medical management (from disease management and wellness screenings to benefit questions) into one system. Apta Health’s care coordinators provide a single go-to resource for all customer service and care management requests, with one point of contact through a single phone number to call. A team of nurses, social workers, and benefit experts collaborate to resolve issues and eliminate confusion while building trust during each and every member interaction.
Developing ongoing, meaningful relationships and trust with employees can be the best way to promote wellness program involvement for the long term. Employees who are engaged in a care coordination program are more likely to be aware of a wellness program’s incentives or tools and to truly engage in improving their health. When you build your plan around meeting members where they are, you’re more likely to drive behavior change and realize real results.
If you are looking for ways to create a meaningful employee wellness program, or improve your existing healthcare solutions, Apta Health can help. Learn more about how Apta Health’s affordable, self-funded healthcare solutions can engage employees through care coordination.