We’re just weeks away from the new financial year, and everywhere Health and Wellness Managers are busy planning their program for the next four quarters.
The biggest planning mistake we see from clients who have come to us from other providers, is that their plans were based largely on a pre-established set of activities. That is, they planned their program on the activities they want their employees to be doing — the step challenges, the meditation sessions, the seminars or the expos.
Often these activities come from suggestions by the Executive team, or are constrained by the limited initiatives their old provider could deliver, or are based on requests from employees. It’s easy to fall into this trap. It’s quite normal and even commendable to get caught up in the excitement of what your program will look and feel like. Likewise, it’s important to include popular activities to ensure good engagement and participation.
However, these kinds of plans lack a strong foundation.
The foundation of any good wellness strategy needs to be an understanding of employees’ health status and health risks.
Start with assessment
You need to start with a clear and unequivocal benchmark of employee health and wellbeing (including mental health), and an analysis of the lifestyle and workplace factors which are driving those health issues. In other words, you need to assess and benchmark your employees’ health risks, in a structured way that allows you to compare the metrics year on year.
Employee health risk assessments usually take the form of an online questionnaire, often supplemented by onsite assessments such as health checks. The best online assessments are short but hone right into the metrics that matter.
Look for an online health assessment that meets the following criteria:
Measures core metrics
There’s a defined set of metrics, established by years of research and evidence, which has been found to accurately predict a person’s present and future health. These include cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels and waist circumference or BMI.
Measures the habits and behaviours driving the numbers
For employees to improve their health and their numbers, they need to change their health habits such as what they eat and how often they exercise.
Research shows that lifestyle habits such as vegetable intake not only have a direct impact on a person’s risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, but they also have a direct impact on absenteeism and presenteeism.
Measures mental health
Mental stress costs an average of 3.2 days off per employee in Australia, and is a steadily rising cause of workers compensation claims. Make sure your employee health assessment hones in on factors such as perceived stress, sleep, social supports and self-reported productivity.
Can be customised
Every industry has its own requirements and risk — make sure you can add questions about issues you know are important to your workforce.
Compares year on year
Your assessment system needs to track and measure improvement over time — this is vital for demonstrating the effectiveness of your program.
Healthworks’ online risk appraisal is called MyHealthCheck. It’s a quick yet thorough way to analyse theh health risks in your organisation.
Designed and written by industry leaders, the 33 questions are in-depth enough to give you an expert analysis of your organisation’s health, yet short enough to keep employees focused and interested.