Before jumping into the “how to’s” of evaluating your wellness program we’ve got to return to the beginning and remember that, though fun and rewarding, the purpose of our program is to manage healthcare spending. Your evaluation strategy will help to develop future program improvement, show outcomes to leadership, identify financial impacts, and create understanding of the effect on employee health, engagement and satisfaction.
“Measuring return on investment can be costly for many employers, and health management research has shown that focusing on ROI alone does not accurately encompass all facets of wellness program effectiveness” –Jerry Noice, President and CEO of Health Enhancement Research Organization. There are many ways to measure the success of your program. These 6 categories will give you the bigger picture.
Participation Measures (like completion rates of health assessment) evaluate employee involvement. Satisfaction Measures (like an employee satisfaction survey) will help to create future performance standards and allow employees to provide feedback and be involved. Organizational Support Measures (like implemented programs, policies and procedures or additional perception based questions on your employee survey) Health Impact Measures (including direct measures and self-reported measures) will show overall health risk reduction. Financial Outcome Measures (specific clinical targets) appraise healthcare cost results. Productivity and Performance Measures can be difficult to monetize, but can be considered by viewing employee time away from work due to poor health.
It can take a few years to really show the impact of wellness programs on healthcare cost and financials. Meet with your wellness committee and decide on your program measure before implementing. Continually evaluate and stick with it. With consistent effort, your program will pay off!
Grossmeier, J., PhD. (2015, September). Evaluating Wellness Programs. Benefits Magazine, 38-42. doi:https://hero-health.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Evaluating-Wellness-Programs.pdf
Program Measurement and Evaluation Guide: Core Metrics for Employee Health Management. (2015). Retrieved June 30, 2018, from http://hero-health.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/HERO-PHA-Metrics-Guide-FINAL.pdf