Guest blog from Jim Trimarco, Chief Sales Officer, Viverae
Selecting a workplace wellness provider is a big decision. Choose poorly and you could be looking at low participation, unaddressed health risks, and higher healthcare costs. Worst of all, you could sour your employees on the concept of wellness for good, making it that much harder to get it right in the future. Choosing wisely, on the other hand, can add considerable value to your bottom line, and make wellness a welcome addition to your existing company culture.
Complicating things a bit is the fact that at first glance, it can seem like one wellness provider is just as good as the next. At the basic level, each offers a menu of seemingly carbon-copy solutions: a fancy all-in-one online wellness portal, health screenings, and risk assessments. Sprinkle a few wellness challenges, videos, and educational materials on top, and you’re good to go. Right? Not so fast.
Beneath the surface, every provider has their own unique approach when it comes to wellness. And asking the right questions is the key to understanding what separates one from the next. Here are a few suggestions to help you discover what you need to know in order to make an informed decision and find the perfect wellness provider for your organization.
Is your approach culturally or clinically focused?
Building a culture of wellness with fun program activities is a vital element of any successful wellness program. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of improved health outcomes or reduced healthcare spending. While most providers typically lean in one direction or the other, the ones that stand out are the ones that offer a focus on both – and can validate their outcomes.
How flexible is the technology and program design?
Things change. And, as is often the case in the world of business, they change fast. So, you can’t afford to choose a wellness provider that tries to box you in with solutions that simply won’t or can’t evolve. Of course, every vendor you talk to is going to claim to be flexible, so I recommend asking for specific examples that demonstrate their ability to adapt to changing demands as your company and wellness program evolve.
Can you walk me through your reporting solution?
Reporting is a bit of an unsung hero in the world of wellness, often taking a backseat to flashier solutions like gamification and health coaching. But how else can you determine if your program is performing the way it should? Some key things to think about with regards to reporting: Are there any challenges or potential hurdles in acquiring the data you need? Does the vendor provide a self-service reporting tool, or do you have to rely on the vendor to provide a selection of standard reports? Do they enlist a third party to report or is it imbedded? And finally, are the reports robust or do they only scratch the surface?
How do you ensure the program is personalized to each member?
Everyone begins their health journey at a different point. For some, this may be their first step on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Others may be trying to get back into shape, manage a chronic condition, or simply keep up their momentum. Ideally, the wellness program should be able to address all these goals and then some. More importantly, it needs to guide every member down a logical path that speaks directly to them and motivates them to remain engaged throughout the program year.
Do you provide health coaching, and if so, are coaching services outsourced?
With so many emerging technology breakthroughs, it’s easy to get excited and fall in love with the latest features and gadgets. But as useful as technology can be, one of the most effective ways to keep program members motivated is to match them with dedicated health coaches and clinicians. Not only can they hold members accountable, but they also add a much-needed human touch that many programs lack.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; there are definitely a number of other equally important questions that you should bring up. But this should get the conversation started and help you on your way to selecting a wellness provider that your employees will enjoy and your management team can get behind.