Finding Fit: Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs Successfully

    wwucbtechnical cover page june18

 2018 Employer Guide Cover Page

Continuing previous research on trends in workplace wellness programs, Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) together with the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces (ICHW) at UC Berkeley collaborated on FINDING FIT: Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs Successfully, to give employers the tools to shape wellness programs for their employees. This evidence-based, workplace wellness technical report and employer guide are meant to help employers in their efforts to promote employee health, increase program participation, and improve productivity. 

Available for free, the 2018 Employer Guide focuses on the types of wellness programs that have shown to be effective and provides a step-by-step process for identifying one or more wellness programs that fit each employer’s unique characteristics. Eight different wellness program types were identified, involving topics such as education programs, social community building, preventive care, healthy habit development and disease management. To create the assessment tool, each wellness program type was analyzed by its essential requirements for successful implementation. 

Also available for free is the Technical Report, called FINDING FIT: Increasing Participation Rates in Wellness Programs for Small and Medium Organizations. This evidenced-based report analyzes how workplace wellness programs are applicable to all sizes of organizations, featuring several components including: a literature review; overviews of employer focus group responses; an analysis of 2017 Harris Poll Surveys - of 1,520 employers and 2,892 employees; and a list of publicly available resources on workplace wellness programs. Appendices to the Technical Report is also available for free.

ICHW and TCHS have also released the FINDING FIT: Interactive Assessment Tool, which will guide users through an assessment to determine the wellness program type(s) that best “fits” their organization based on their organization's unique opportunities and constraints. The results of the tool will help the user decide which wellness program type(s) to introduce to their organization. To determine fit, this tool takes users through 3 sections of questions and then automatically determines the best fitting programs based on the number of facilitators and barriers present. The tool also links to the Finding Fit employer guide publication so that users can learn more about addressing constraints including employee motivation. In addition, the tool allows users to revisit and adjust their answers to see how their results might change in real time, reflecting which wellness program types might be a better fit if small changes are made in the organization. This tool is an online user-friendly version of the assessment tool found within the Finding Fit employer guide and is meant to be used as a standalone assessment or in conjunction with the employer guide publication.

You can download the free guide here
 and the technical report here.

Please also browse below for other free supporting materials:

The rise in health care costs has led many employers to find new ways to help employees stay healthy and productive while simultaneously reducing health care costs associated with preventable chronic diseases. A trend to address this issue is the growth of workplace wellness or health promotion programs. To gain insight into the best practices that are driving the most successful workplace wellness programs across the country, national nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) partnered with the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to release an evidence-based, straightforward workplace health promotion guide for employers.

TCHS partnered with Dr. Ron Goetzel, a senior scientist and director at IHPS, who led the research project and worked with his Institute team to develop a series of actionable steps to help guide employers in designing and implementing a new workplace wellness program or evaluating an existing program.

Employers can use this Guide to implement best and promising practices in their workplaces, thereby maximizing the impact of their program and the benefits to employees and the business alike. The Guide offers easy to use, real world recommendations on the design, implementation, and evaluation of workplace health promotion programs with a focus on addressing a variety of important health factors.

To create a comprehensive program, employers must address both the individual risk factors affecting their employees and the organizational factors that help or hinder employees’ efforts to reduce their risks and get healthier. The strongest programs create a culture of health, intertwining individual-level health promotion efforts with the overall company goals and objectives and ensuring that both leadership and the workplace environment provide support for healthy choices.

Programs are also most effective when they are clearly tailored to the goals and needs of specific populations and provide sufficient opportunities for employee engagement and input. Thus, this guide includes steps to address a variety of factors affecting employee health at both the individual and organizational levels.

This guide includes steps to address a variety of factors affecting different populations of employees and the workforce at large. The guide is free to download here.

Want to read more? Here are a few articles on the Report:

How to Design a Corporate Wellness Plan That Actually Works, Harvard Business Review, March 31, 2016

Report outlines wellness program best practices, by Jack Craver on Benefits Pro, October 13, 2015