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How “well” is your wellness program?

Many employers have developed wellness programs to help manage health care costs and foster a workplace culture of wellness. These initiatives often start strong but suffer from waning interest over time.

A majority of those employers that have analyzed the financial impact of their wellness programs have found one- to three-dollar decreases in their overall health care costs for every wellness dollar spent, according to a report from the International Foundation.1

This report details how companies experiencing a positive ROI are more likely to have a broader, value-based health care strategy that offers initiatives such as health screenings, stress management programs, health risk assessments and fitness and nutrition programs.

Measure what matters

While controlling costs and saving money is important, it shouldn’t be the only target to measure a wellness program by. Other metrics, such as a workforce’s average body mass index (BMI), blood pressure or cholesterol levels may be useful measurements, too.

At Aurora Health Care, we understand the important role health and wellness play, both as a large employer (approximately 30,000 employees) and as a leading health care provider. By designed wellness initiatives focused on achieving healthy weight, our employees shed more than 44 tons of excess weight during the past three years.

Create some social media buzz

To avoid boredom and falling participation rates, liven up your wellness offerings by tapping into social networking. Social media allows employees to challenge each other in wellness activities and can increase participation. These online peer-to-peer interactions tend to increase employee engagement.

Consider creating Facebook groups for your employees tailored to their specific wellness interests and fitness goals. With social networking, employees can create their own groups to share the progress they are making toward their goals. Being connected through social networking can help employees stick with the program long term. Working toward your wellness goals is easier (and more fun) when you’re not going it alone.

Through social media, employers can post health and wellness information, share employee success stories and promote upcoming health and wellness events in their communities.

Social media can also encourage healthy, friendly competition among different departments, locations and competitors. Wellness challenges can be related to weight loss, exercise or team challenges that benefit nonprofit charities, such as fundraising runs or walks.

A customized approach pays dividends

More and more organizations are using wellness incentives and communication tools such as social networking to achieve a positive return on their wellness investment.

Customized wellness strategies tailored to your workplace can encourage a wellness culture that helps manage health care costs over time while improving your employees’ health, happiness and productivity in the process.

Click here to learn more about Aurora Health Care’s Employer Solutions.

  1. “A Closer Look: Wellness ROI,” International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2012.

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Kelly Sutton, MBA, CCWS serves as Aurora’s Health Care’s Wellness Program Manager. She is responsible for managing the health and wellness strategy for Aurora’s approximately 30,000 employees. Sutton has been with Aurora for 29 years and has held leadership positions in care management, fitness management and rehabilitation and wellness programming.

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