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Transamerica publishes guide to help employers identify wellness programs to fit their unique workplace

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The Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS), together with the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces (ICHW) at UC Berkeley, in February 2018 released their guide, Finding Fit: Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs Successfully, which is a helpful resource for organizations offering wellness programs for their employees.

The employer guide features an emphasis on small and medium organizations and focuses on the types of wellness programs that have been shown to be effective. It also provides a step-by-step process for identifying one or more wellness programs that fit each employer’s unique characteristics. This approach helps employers assess which wellness program is most compatible and which would encourage employee engagement.

Eight different wellness program types were identified, and they are ordered from low to high employer involvement (and investment) below:

  • Education Programs – pursued by employees at or outside of work
  • Social Community Building by the Employee – engagement in social activities to enhance social relationships
  • Social Community Building by the Organization – employer-led ownership of improving the workforce social community
  • Preventive Care Program (Lite) –- health assessments and preventative screening by the insurance vendor
  • Healthy Habit Development (Lite) – organization-led interventions encouraging healthier personal and work-related habits
  • Healthy Habit Development (Enhanced) – physical worksite environment enhancements facilitating healthier workday habits
  • Preventive Care Program (Enhanced) – partnership between healthcare providers and employer leadership to reduce incidence of serious illness and disease
  • Disease Management – employer investments in on-site medical clinics and/or occupational health programs

To get a broad understanding of employee and employer perspectives, TCHS analyzed results from the national employer and employee surveys on health and wellness topics administered in 2017 by the Harris Poll on behalf of TCHS. Finally, focus group discussions with more than 20 small and medium-sized organizations explored various issues regarding adoption of wellness programs and determinants of participation.

To create the assessment tool, each wellness program type was analyzed by its essential requirements for successful implementation. The guide also provides guidance on how to increase participation in wellness programs and provides information to help employers determine what value a wellness program might have for the employees. At the end of the guide, there is also an extensive list of resources to provide employers additional wellness-related information and support.

The guide can be accessed online here.

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