E is for Effective – the 7 key elements to achieve an effective wellbeing program.

Many studies have been published and continue to be published every year to support the business case for organisations to invest in employee health and wellbeing. I can point you to many studies that show there are a long list of benefits to the employee and the employer when an effective program is delivered. I can also use the latest research to demonstrate that an effective wellbeing program can deliver returns of 6:1 or more.

Does this mean that every health and wellbeing program will reap the many potential benefits on offer and deliver a high ROI? In many cases the answer is no.

You’ll notice in studies (and in the first paragraph of this post) when discussing the benefits and ROI of health and wellbeing programs the word ‘effective’ is used. This is because there are number of key ingredients that need to be in the mix to ensure your health and wellbeing program is an effective one that delivers a long list of benefits and a high ROI.

Below are my top 7 key elements of an effective wellbeing program.

Strategic Alignment A clear strategy that is aligned with business outcomes (i.e. Productivity, retention, incidence, engagement…)
Measurable Program is measureable and monitored
Tailored Quality services + program structured to achieve outcomes for individuals based on actual health risks
Solutions aimed at sustainable behaviour change (i.e. changing behaviours at work and at home)
Sponsored Supported by the business.
(Ownership of outcomes resides in the line)       
Accessible How accessible is the program to audience + Consistency in delivery across different parts of business or over time
Communication & Engagement Is the program visible to all employees and enaging. (Communication strategy articulating benefits to employees)
Resourcing People and $$$ to execute
(Investment needs to be committed for multiyear strategy)


Next Steps

Rate the effectiveness of your program.

Now that you understand the key elements required to ensure your organisations health and wellbeing program is effective, take a few minutes to rank your organisation from 1-5 (1 being Very Poor and 5 being Very Good) in each area. Then tally up your scores to get a total score out of 35. It’s important to be honest and truthful when scoring each element as these scores will help you to understand which elements need a little (or a lot) of attention.

If the overall score is under 20 it’s likely that your program is not meeting the desired objectives or delivering a high ROI, and you have some work to do to ensure your program is effective and continues to receive investment from the business. In saying that, don’t be too hard on yourself as we find even organisations that have had a program in place for many years don’t score well the first time.

How do you stack up next to your competitors?

If there is one thing I’ve learnt working with organisations from a range of sectors is that they all like to know what their competitors are doing, how they stack up compared to their competitors and what they need to do get the edge over their competitors.

Once you’ve ranked your organisation against the 7 key elements have a go at ranking your top 4 competitors. How do you do that I hear you ask? Well, this will take a bit of detective work. You may know someone within your competitors business who is willing to share their insights. You may simply search their company name and the words ‘health and wellbeing’ and see what comes up. If you are in an industry that shares, why not pick up the phone and say you are keen to learn which company is offering an effective program. You get the idea, be creative. In my experience people love to brag, especially the ones who are proud of their efforts.

Below is a template you can use to rank you organisation against your competitors on the 7 key elements. If your organisation score’s low against your competitors use this table as part of your business case to gain support for your program and even to get increased funding – trust me it works!

How to use this table: Enter a number in each box from 1 to 5 (1 = Very Poor, 5 = Very Good), then add up the totals and compare your score with your competitors.

Key Element Your company Competitor 1 Competitor 2 Competitor 3 Competitor 4
Strategic Alignment
Communication & engagement
Total Score (out of 35)

ScoringVery Poor = 1, Poor = 2, Moderate = 3, Good = 4, Very Good = 5

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