Healthier Employees = A Healthier Bottom Line

In 2006, US health care expenditures surpassed $2 trillion—16% of the GDP and almost three times 1990 expenses ($714 billion) and more than eight times 1980 expenses ($253 billion) . Approximately, one-third of the $2 trillion was attributable to such diseases as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and asthma, which are often caused by poor diet, inadequate physical activity, obesity, excess stress, and the use of tobacco and alcohol. The good news is that these are preventable and modifiable conditions. The bad news is that the prevalence of these conditions—with the exception of tobacco use—has steadily increased for more than four decades as shown in this graph.

Changing employee behavior via a wellness program is not an easy task; it requires careful planning, ongoing dedication, and consistent monitoring and fine-tuning. The success of your wellness program also depends greatly on your company’s culture and the incentives that support the program. By incorporating the following ten key elements, you can help ensure the initial—and ongoing—success of your wellness program:

1. A supportive company environment
2. Senior management support
3. A dedicated wellness coordinator
4. A strong operational plan
5. Effective communication
6. A data-driven effort
7. Appropriate interventions
8. Meaningful incentives
9. Periodic evaluation of outcomes
10. Implementation of relevant program modifications