Research Shows Successful Wellness Programs have Similar Attributes

by: Nichole Gunn September 29, 2011

Each year, businesses continue to see their healthcare insurance expenses rising. This dilemma is not discriminatory; it crosses all industries and many borders.

Spectrum Aeromed was no different than any other company – year after year, healthcare costs kept rising. The company’s office manager, Tammy Enright, decided to take action to help battle the ever-rising costs, and sought to implement an incentive program that would be a win-win solution for both the employees and employer.

The strategy of using health and wellness programs is nothing new; each year more and more businesses are realizing the benefits and adopting some form of this type of program. Businesses nationwide are implementing health related incentive programs to help reduce healthcare expenses while promoting employee healthy lifestyle choices and enhancing productivity.

Discussing the healthcare problem with Prairie Business Magazine, Enright explained, "We’re a small business and it was huge that employee claims were so high. We wanted to boost employee morale, lower the number of sick days, and wanted employees to know we care about them and their health.” She added that the company is “hoping to make a difference” in the employees lives and their families.

Spectrum Aeromed is a manufacturing company based in North Dakota, and according to Prairie Business, it has only 24 employees. Finding and implementing the ‘right’ corporate health and wellness program for a small mid-west business can be challenging.

Adding his input on the topic, Healthy ND Worksite Wellness Director Pete Seljevold told the news source, “What we find is this is one more duty assigned to somebody in the office.” He went on to say that his company’s purpose is to train the person responsible for the program, and show him or her “where the inexpensive and free resources are available and they become the champion.”

A Healthy ND consultant, Molly Soeby, advised that it’s essential that a successful wellness program be supported by both the employees and management.

Substantiating the benefits of wellness programs, a 2010 study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that an efficient and effectively run health and wellness initiative has the potential to offer a ROI of between $2 and $3, according to the Portland Business Journal.

The magazine noted that research regarding what makes a wellness program effective demonstrates that there are a number of consistencies in successful programs: a strong branding of the company, a wide and relevant structure, strong and open lines of communications; internal and external partnerships, engaged management and leadership throughout.

CEO and President of Mid-America Coalition on Healthcare, William Bruning, told Prairie Business Magazine, “Lay the groundwork for success in the program first by understanding your health risks.”