Business of Well-being

The 8 Best Strategies You Can Implement to Rescue Corporate Health Risks and Costs

Do you like movies? If you do, it is probably because they provide a temporary distraction from the stress of everyday life. They focus on someone's problems other than your own. Art imitates life, right? Whether it is 50 First Dates or Groundhog Day, Hollywood has a recurring theme of characters reliving days because of poor choices they have made.

Is the same thing happening to your employee wellness program? If you want to improve the health, productivity and costs of your organization, you will benefit from these 8 strategies.

Identify Your Health Care Costs

You likely spend more than $9,500 per employee annually for healthcare and prescription coverage. For example, a company with 100 employees will spend almost 1 million dollars per year. Determine your actual payments for your most recent full fiscal or calendar year for even greater accuracy and personalized impact.

Determine Your Projected Increase

The average projected health care cost increase for the next 5 years is 11 percent annually. A company with 100 employees, for example, can expect to pay in excess of $100,00 more next year until they do something differently. This amounts to more than $8,500 more per month. Compare this estimated projection with your actual increase between your most recent 2 full fiscal or calendar years.

Budget For An Effective Program

How much are you spending on prevention? What percentage of your medical expenditure is your wellness budget? What will happen to your health care expenses if you do nothing? It takes about $150 per eligible employee per year to demonstrate a positive return on investment (ROI).

To put this in perspective, this is about $12 per employee per month and probably less than 3% of your medicals expenses. Positive ROI has been well documented in the literature from comprehensive programs. However, the message has become muddied by exaggerated claims from lower quality programs. Be very suspicious of anyone who claims ROI for less.

Learn From The Best

There are more than 500 studies documenting the impact of well-designed health promotion programs. The 3 biggest predictors of success are comprehensiveness, individual attention and follow-up. Consequently, the 3 biggest predictors of failure are poor design, poor implementation and poor follow-up. Choose a comprehensive, evidence-based program model and stick with it.

Deliver A Comprehensive Program

Do not dilute the quality of your program because of a less than perfect budget! This is one of the most important strategies you can follow. Provide a comprehensive wellness program to as many employees as you can afford within your wellness budget.

If the number of participants is less than your entire group, provide a pilot program. You will achieve much greater outcomes and will be ensured that your program "grows" rather than "goes".

Measure Your Culture

A client found that nearly 45% of their employees strongly disagreed, disagreed or were neutral that their employer valued their health. This is a significant benchmark and is certainly related to productivity, absenteeism and health care costs. An improvement in the culture is one of the first significant rewards of a comprehensive wellness program.

Provide Thorough, Private Wellness Testing

Evidenced-based wellness testing can serve as the foundation for your outcomes data, it can provide the personal attention that is critical for an effective program and it can boost interest in future programs. Soon, more than just the healthy people will show up for your lunch and learns.

Provide Consistent Follow-up

You should follow-up with each employee and ask for a detailed update after every program. Follow-up should be performed at 1 month, 3 months and every 6 months after each program. Consistent follow-up will demonstrate concern from you as an employer and will increase compliance and participation with your communication efforts.

If you are working with vendors, they should be able to identify, target, individually invite and communicate based upon any criteria you specify and report back to you.When you focus on The 8 Best Strategies You Can Implement Now for Wellness ROI you are well on your way toward a healthier workforce and bottom line.

About Scott Foster and Wellco Corporation

Wellco works with organizations that want to stop employee health risks before they become more dangerous and costly. Wellco specializes in health ROI systems, risk appraisals, corporate wellness programs, speaking, and consulting. Wellco is the developer of the award winning HealthHammer, the first and only Zero Trend Appraisal system. Wellco is a 2009 winner of Corp! Magazine's Economic Bright Spots.

About the Author

Scott Foster is President & ROI Expert of Wellco. Scott has generated millions of dollars in cost savings for organizations and is a highly popular speaker and consultant. Scott has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Home Depot, MetLife, SBC, and 3M. Scott is a consultant for the Michigan Department of Health, Chairperson of the Michigan Cardiovascular Business Alliance, a featured columnist for "Health Michigan", and an Executive Committee Chairperson of the Oakland County Wellness Coalition (a strategic alliance of prestigious organizations such as Automation Alley and 28 Chambers of Commerce).

Scott is the facilitator of, a resource that provides interviews and commentary from the nation's wellness superstars. Often featured as a media expert, he is certified as a Health Promotion Director by the world-renowned Cooper Clinic in Dallas, and he was awarded a Lipid Clinic facilitation certificate by Chicago's Midwest Lipid Clinic. Scott has previously served as a hospital administrator and clinician.  For more information, visit or call (toll-free) 866-636-WELL.

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