Yet few organizations report that they evaluate their wellness programs regularly. Without the scrutiny of evaluation and the measurement of outcomes, it is not possible to determine if program goals and Return on Investment(ROI) are achieved.
So, what are measurement and evaluation? Put simply, a program is evaluated through the measurement of identified goals or objectives. Common measurement outcomes include employee participation, engagement, satisfaction, improvements in health, ROI and other benefits an organization may consider important. Some components of a wellness program should be evaluated on an ongoing basis, some yearly and some every 2 years or longer. For example, Health Risk Assessments ( HRAs) should ideally be conducted yearly, while measuring participation may be on an ongoing basis.
Measurement offers the following critical information:
– Feedback for improvement; what works well, what needs to be improved and what else needs to be done?
– Demonstration of value; does the program meet its goals?
– Tracking progress; is participation increasing from year to year? are employees getting healthier?
– Reports for accountability; are there reductions in absenteeism or health claims ? what about ROI?
– Comparative data; what are the changes from year to year in the organization’s health risk profile, sick leave, etc. How does an organization compare with other organizations in the same industry sector?
Before embarking on a wellness program, the essential first step is knowing what kind of wellness issues are most common in the organization. So it is necessary to gather baseline data on employee health that can be compared with future assessments. These baseline data should include the collection of biometrics such as blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and blood sugar together with a Health Risk Assessment questionnaire. Having baseline data on absenteeism and health care claims is also an excellent way to compare changes as the wellness program is implemented that will help establish ROI. Employee engagement is a critical success factor and measuring participation rates is a clear and relatively easy way to determine engagement.