However, there is a way to get it right, and it’s important we do so. Now, more than ever, employee wellness matters as record levels of turnover and burnout occur throughout many industries. The idea of keeping people well physically, emotionally, and mentally is emerging as a key priority for employers.
Why the old ideas have fallen short
The most common reason old ideas weren’t effective was because they were too frequently implemented as siloed programs instead of integrated into employees’ overall care experiences. As you’ll see in the examples below, behavior change requires holistic support to work.
Why it was supposed to work: Educating employees on healthy eating would, in theory, cause them to improve their diets.
Why it fell short: Now we know that education and awareness aren't enough to inspire behavior change. Other factors, such as lack of time, money, or support can have a far greater influence. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that, at any given point, 80% of people are not ready to change their health behaviors.
Feel as if their struggles and barriers to healthy eating are heard and taken into account
Receive personalized assistance with creating nutritional goals
Attend follow-up appointments where they are encouraged to stick with their goals
Fitness centers and club memberships
Why it was supposed to work: Providing employees with a free gym membership or access to an onsite gym would encourage them to exercise more frequently.
Why it fell short: People who don’t value gym memberships or participate in this form of exercise are unlikely to change their behaviors.
A new approach: Rather than offering one-size-fits-all resources, employers should foster an environment that focuses on behavior change. This is no small task, but providers and Vera health coaches are trained in empathetic listening and methods of empowering patients to take ownership of their own, unique health journeys.
Health screenings and risk assessments
Why it was supposed to work: Screenings would increase employees' awareness about health issues and allow them to monitor their health from the workplace.
Why it fell short: Without follow-up or incentives, employees don’t always take action after screenings.
A new approach: Recommended screenings and health assessments are based on an individual’s personal and family health history. These screenings are followed with concrete medical advice and support, including goal-setting assistance and tangible strategies.
“So, at Vera we have a proactive member engagement strategy that includes understanding the population and then providing a meaningful engagement strategy specific to the population. Once that meaningful member engagement strategy has been deployed and is ongoing, then we can continuously monitor engagement, determine how we need to adjust, and really make sure that the strategy is meaningful.” — Lindsay Leeder, family nurse practitioner and Director of Clinical Consulting at Vera Whole Health
On- or near-site clinics offer a better option
Improving employee health and wellness requires an integrated and personalized focus on whole health, such as that found within the walls of an on- or near-site Vera clinic.
Behavior change coaching is clinically integrated into the Vera APC model to support members on their care journeys. Vera health teams meet people where they’re at, understanding their health and wellness goals and supporting them in working toward those goals.
“Unless you have a comprehensive, all inclusive experience with the patient at the center, you will not achieve the wellness results that I think all the programs hope to. We have the ability to provide that integrated care experience for our patients.” — Lindsay Leeder
Isn’t it time for an integrated employee wellness program that actually delivers on its promises?