Best Practices in HR

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Robyn Whalen
  July 12, 2019

4 Ways to Evaluate and Update Your Wellness Program This Summer

Summer can be slower for many businesses, which makes it a perfect time to review and revamp your company’s wellness programs.

Wellness programs aren’t “set it and forget it” kind of initiatives.

To be successful, your program should be evaluated and improved regularly. This starts with having a clear understanding of objectives and goals. Looking at participation, program satisfaction, behavioral changes, and cultural changes can help you settle on the best way to update your wellness programs.

Unsure how to start the evaluation process?

Here’s a look at the employee-facing metrics that can quickly improve lackluster programs:

What to Evaluate for Wellness Programs at Work

Participation vs. Engagement

When you look at participation numbers, you might get excited to see nearly half of your staff has signed up for a steps challenge, for example. But what happens come challenge days? Do the “participants” drop off and stop engaging with your program? If so, you’ve got an engagement problem, not necessarily a participation problem.

Some points to consider:

  • How involved are your employees in the planning process?
  • What types of programs do they participate in most?
  • What programs do they participate in the least?
  • Are there programs or events they are asking for you to incorporate in the future?

Evaluation Takeaway: By taking into consideration what employees really want, you’ll find your participation and engagement numbers will rise for your wellness programs.


Once you’ve gauged participation vs. engagement numbers, it’s time to face the cold hard facts: How much do employees really care about the program? During the feedback stage, ask questions that may open your wellness committee up to some constructive criticism:

  • What type of feedback are you getting about the quality of events?
  • What’s a common thread you’re seeing among leadership and employee feedback?
  • What feedback are you getting on the frequency of events?
  • Are there types of events that are getting better feedback than others?
  • How can you do better for the next event based on your current budget?

Evaluation Takeaway: Wellness programs at work only benefit the employees using them. If no one is using the program, no one is benefitting. Satisfaction rates matter, so getting to the root of what employees want will only increase the quality of your program offerings.

Changes in Behavior

To see the best results for your wellness programs at work, participants must make behavioral changes. If not, your biometric screenings results will remain the same, along with the state of your employees’ health. If your company takes part in biometric screenings, your aggregate data can help individuals and teams set health goals. Some tough questions to ask in the process:

  • How successful are your employees with making healthy changes?
  • Are employees setting individual goals?
  • Would team goals work better for your work culture?

Evaluation Takeaway: Do employees feel the wellness program is providing the knowledge and support needed to maintain healthy changes? Find out how employees would feel most supported in making healthier lifestyle changes more permanent.

Changes in Culture

Sometimes a work culture change is to blame for wellness programs not thriving. If new leadership has taken over, your wellness committee may need to get buy-in from the new senior leadership. Some other points to consider:

  • How important is your wellness program when creating budgets?
  • Has overall employee satisfaction improved due to wellness programs?
  • Are leaders publicly recognizing employees?

Evaluation Takeaway: Leaders must communicate support for wellness initiatives to be successful. Consider publicly recognizing employees for making healthy lifestyle changes.

Ways to Get Feedback for Wellness Programs

Evaluating wellness programs is the only way to know for sure if health goals and results are happening. When your wellness committee makes it a point to ask — and ask often — for feedback, it can steer initiatives in a better direction for the future. You can evaluate a few different ways:

Surveys after each event

After a wellness event, you don’t need formal surveys. Even a short, 3-5 question email post-event can suffice. Throw in a gift card or other incentive to get more feedback. For attendees, asked what they liked, disliked, and what could be improved. For no shows, ask why they didn’t attend and what they’d prefer to see for program topics or initiatives.

Send open-ended surveys to employees

Be open to feedback on a rolling basis. That way employees can offer thoughtful responses when they have time and aren’t feeling pressured. Ask questions like:

  • How are we doing?
  • How can we improve?
  • What are you getting the most/least value from?
  • What healthy changes have you made as a result of the program?

What to Do With the Results

Once you have results, you may feel overwhelmed with all the data — especially if you have a large company. Collect data and then analyze it to make the most effective changes as a wellness committee. Be sure to include any metrics you have on decreased medical-service costs that ultimately showcase successful engagement.

Three ways to do it:

Review – Look at what’s working and what’s not to make changes in your program offerings.

Check goals – Have you met your goals? What goals should be tweaked or changed?

Present findings –To get leadership support, present your data to prove program effectiveness. Include stats on what percentage of employees made healthy changes after a specific presentation on a particular health issue, for example.

Keep Evaluating for Best Results

As cliché as it may seem, wellness is a journey, not a destination.

By taking your employees on an engaging — and consistent — journey through wellness opportunities, you guide them into finding what works best for them.

The best and most successful wellness programs are tweaked to fit promising health industry trends while taking into consideration employee feedback.

Whether your company participates in annual biometric screenings, flu shot clinics, or other wellness initiatives, it’s important to collect data for each event. Open-ended evaluations also allow participants to offer thoughtful feedback. Employers who do consistent monitoring to make appropriate updates will see the most success.

Wellness programs shouldn’t be considered a nuisance that requires your attention once a year. Instead, checking-in with employees and getting quarterly or even monthly feedback can make your wellness program stronger and more useful for everyone in your company.

Want to see your employees actively engage in a wellness program at work? Learn more about Beata, our engagement-based wellness program — ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. Give us a call at 888-434-4358 to set up your free demo today!

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