Transamerica Institute

Finding Fit: Implementing Workplace Wellness Programs Successfully

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 employer guide is meant to help employers in their efforts to promote employee health, increase program participation, and improve productivity. 

 Available for free, the 2018 Employer Guide (with an emphasis on small and medium organizations) 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. A comprehensive literature review of wellness program effectiveness and participation rates was also undertaken. To get a broad understanding of employee and employer perspectives, results from the national employer and employee surveys on health and wellness topics administered in 2017 by the Harris Poll on behalf of TCHS were analyzed. In addition, 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. At the end of the guide, there is also an extensive list of resources to provide employers additional wellness-related information and support.

You can download the free guide here
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 is Benefits Pro, October 13, 2015