Hi-Tech Wellness Encouraging Employee Participation

hi-tech wellness

As employee wellness programs increase in popularity, hi-tech wellness can help employers engage employees in their programs and keeps programs light and fun. The range of ways to incorporate technology into wellness programs is growing. Between apps, wearables, and dashboards, hi-tech wellness is becoming a tool to drive wellness program success for employers and employees alike. Here are three ways that hi-tech wellness can work for you.

  1. Allows employees to engage at their own pace: Tracking activity and calorie intake can be a great way to get employees started. More advanced metrics can follow later. For employees who are reluctant to get involved in a wellness program, a simple Fitbit to track their steps and try to reach a preset goal of 10,000 steps a day could be a gateway to independent goal setting and striving for more. According to digital agency Acquity Group, 22% of consumers own an activity monitor and that number will double within the next three years. Both the employee and the employer can track these metrics, allowing the employer to see the direct impact of their program as it is happening.
  1. Keep it social: Social media consumes our lives. Everyone is posting their whereabouts on Facebook or a picture on Instagram. So why should wellness programs be any different? With internal private dashboards for your organization only, or large public apps like MapMyFitness, employers and employees have options for socializing their wellness efforts, and employers their wellness programs.
  1. Wearable options lead to adoption: With so many options in the growing wearable market, employees can now find the right activity monitor to meet their needs. Options range from a simple pedometer, 6 types of Fitbits (along with 2 basic pedometers), countless brands joining in the quest for the perfect wearable, all the way to the Apple Watch. Employees are able to research and find the right activity tracker to fit their tech preferences and fitness style. This leads to an easier adoption of trackable technology, and ultimately can mean a higher participation rate in employer wellness programs.
Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Invest in Effective Employee Wellness

effective employee wellness

As we dive into 2016 more employers are focused on expanding their wellness programs. Towers Watson Staying@Work survey indicates that 75% of organizations plan to increase or significantly increase employee wellness initiatives over the next three years. But as those programs expand and change, now may be the time to re-evaluate your efforts before making any more investments.

Effective employee wellness: How do programs measure up?

Towers Watson’s Global Benefit Attitudes Survey found that out of 30,000 employee respondents only 1/3 indicated their employee wellness program drives them to a healthier lifestyle. 32% indicated these programs don’t meet their personal wellness needs. This means that although they may be participating, they aren’t fundamentally affected by the program. Participation, as noted below, does not always mean adoption.

• 50% of employees participated in group-related programs while individual participation was lower
• 48% underwent biometric screenings
• 22% participated in a worksite exercise or diet activity

Listen and learn

So how can you solve the adoption issue? In order to see effective employee wellness, it’s important to include your employees in the program construction process. Find out the types of health and wellness activities your employees want to engage in and provide options to appeal to all fitness levels and major health issues. Gather the data and use that to craft your wellness program; stepping away from prescriptive formulas and prebuilt playbooks. Each staff member is different, which usually means that each employee wellness program will need to be different. Listen to your staff to ensure your program success.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

The CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter: February Edition

wellness newsletterTop stories from the February CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter!

Wellness programs continue to evolve into 2016, challenging employers to keep things fresh. This edition of the CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter focuses on using rewards and incentives to encourage healthy behavioral changes, resources on how to maintain engagement and secure long-term program success, CVS news and more.  Read below for more on what this edition has to offer.

CVS in the News

dosomething.org

Quitting Smoking: Priority #1 – DoSomething.org and CVS Health team up with hip-hop duo Kalin and Myles to encourage young people to create  and share handmade cards encouraging smokers to quit.

 

project health

Schedule Your Health Screenings – CVS Health is hosting no cost health screening events in many major metropolitan areas across the U.S.  Check your BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar, and more.

More on this section…


Health & Wellness News

Wellness Challenges

Creating Wellness Challenges – Create wellness challenges that encourage employees to become happier, healthier, and more energetic at work.

 

wellness tools

Wellness & Fitness Tech Tool to Help You Stay Fit – These 8 tech tools will change your mindset about using the word “diet” when discussing  your health & wellness goals.

 

More on this section…


CVS Health Brand

CVS/pharmacy Gift Card Product Suite

With more than 8,000 locations, CVS/pharmacy is the most convenient place to get the prescription medications, healthcare, and beauty products you need. CVS/pharmacy has a range of gift cards available that are ideal for using as rewards and incentives in your wellness programs. Discounts are also available based on volume!

Contact us today to learn more.

Learn more

The CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter is brought to you by GiftCard Partners, Inc. and is designed with your needs in mind.

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Insurance Brokers: The New Wellness Consultants

wellness consultants

Insurance broker involvement in wellness programs is on the rise. In the past insurance brokers may have helped human resources departments select and negotiate the best insurance plans for their workforce. But with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act and the incentives that are geared toward employee wellness, a broker’s job role is expanding. Now just how far that expansion reaches is still dependent on the broker. The graph below is taken from RAND’s latest employer survey and breaks down the involvement levels that different insurance brokers have in their clients’ wellness programs.

3 Main Ways Insurance Brokers are Involved in Wellness

  1. Do Nothing Brokers- Over 50% of brokers chose to do nothing in relation to their clients’ wellness programs. While this is the most prevalent approach, it may not be advisable. From a business growth and consultative partnership approach to client relationships, getting active in your clients’ wellness program might be the key to future business and longevity. If you want to be a transactional broker who has client turnover from year to year, involvement in wellness programs may not be for you, but if you want to create long-term client relationships and exceed expectations…keep reading.
  1. Hire Wellness Vendors- 29% of insurance brokers assist clients in hiring a wellness vendor. The broker vets the vendor and brings them in once the insurance deal is done. This shifts responsibility for the accomplishment of client metrics from the broker to the vendor and the client. It allows the vendor to provide added value for clients without creating direct accountability, and without liability, to help clients reach certain milestones. Additionally, hiring a wellness vendor allows brokers to bring in real wellness program experts. As wellness programs grow and expand, along with the addition of incentives related to the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to have true experts guiding a clients’ program to ensure success within government guidelines.
  1. Advise Clients on Wellness Programming- 10% of brokers chose to get more involved in their clients’ wellness program by offering advice. This allows brokers to have that trusted partnership level with clients without committing to metrics. It also allows brokers to build long-term relationships without committing to the development and execution of a plan that’s out of their wheelhouse. Advising clients’ usually involves identifying resources that they can use to build out their program and ensure its success, without the obligation of continued counseling and monitoring. This approach is like providing a playbook without coaching the actual game. It can build trust, without monopolizing broker time.

No matter what level of involvement brokers take in their clients’ wellness programs it’s safe to say the wellness isn’t going anywhere. And as the year goes on and incentives and rewards continue to cement themselves in this space, so do the legalities and conditions that go along with them. So how do you think the RAND pie chart will change in the coming year?

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

3 Tips to Ensure Wellness Program Success

wellness program success

Wellness programs are almost a requirement of employers’ benefits packages these days. Health and wellness has become such a large component of employees’ lives that employers have gotten increasingly involved in. But how can you measure your wellness program success? Here are three tips to ensure you can execute and measure your wellness program successfully by focusing on outcomes, accountability, and return on initial investment.

Stay Outcomes-Based

To ensure wellness program success at your organization, stay outcomes-based. Don’t just focus on program implementation or activities like a company 5k. While implementation is important, and activities can increase engagement, focusing on outcomes will reap real long term success and ROI. Staying outcomes-based allows rewards to be earned and often for employers to help employees reach the most effective outcome, weight loss. Weight loss leads to the greatest ROI for employers given that weight loss prevents a host of other diseases and conditions that can raise total healthcare costs.

Stay Accountable

Outcomes-based wellness programs also help long terms success by keeping employees accountable for their own wellness, which leads to overall wellness program success. Maintaining employee accountability helps keep the program focus throughout the first three critical years of a program. Keeping employee accountability keeps employees’ eyes on the prize, and employers focus on real measurable ROI.

Measure ROI

Here’s the fun part for employers. Measuring ROI and proving that wellness program success can really make a difference in the bottom line costs of healthcare for your organization. In the first three to five years of a program employers should look to measure a 3-1 ROI on wellness programs, for every $1 invested, within 3-5 years employers should see $3 back. This is the endgame. Wellness program success can be measured by these metrics, and should be a guideline for employee accountability.

Read more heath & wellness posts here.

Read More on Health & Wellness

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Premium Reductions No Longer Rewarding

Premium reductions

Premium reductions are becoming less effective when it comes to employee health and wellness programs. We recently wrote about how cash isn’t king when it comes to rewards and incentives, and the same can be said for rewarding and incenting employees for healthy behaviors.

Even with the high cost of healthcare, premium reductions are not as motivating

Currently, about 50% of corporate wellness programs offer a premium reduction. But studies show that financial incentives are becoming ineffective, especially when it comes to encouraging employees to lose weight and change their lifestyles. In a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania, 197 obese employees were offered health insurance premium reductions or other financial incentives to shed excess weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. After 12 months, there were no significant changes in weight from the employees. The study concluded that more creative incentives might lead to changes in behavior.

“There is often a presumption that the size of the reward is all that matters,” said Dr. Kevin Volpp, director of the Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics. “In reality, incentive systems vary in effectiveness according to how well they are designed,” he explained in a university news release.

Employees want to be rewarded immediately for positive healthy behaviors or lifestyle changes. Premium reductions, cash, and other financial incentives that get “hidden” into a paycheck do not help employees associate their reward with their behaviors. Currently under the Affordable Care Act, companies can use up to 30% of health insurance premiums (average $1,800 per worker) to encourage employees to adopt healthy lifestyles.

What types of non-financial incentives should we use in our corporate wellness programs?

Wearables, gift cards, and point-based programs are expected to have the most growth in 2016. Wearables, such as Fitbit, make health and fitness goals easy to track while gift cards are often customizable to employee interests and make them feel recognized.

Learn more about corporate health and wellness programs and the role gift cards play in our webcast Using Incentives to Drive Change in Corporate Wellness Programs.

Download Webcast


Want more corporate wellness tips? Check out the Wellable blog here!


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Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Workplace Wellness Infographic

Workplace wellness is a $6 billion industry. In today’s age of technology, millions of American employees are sitting at their desks for hours on end. Behaviors like these have led to a growing rate of chronic diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, stress, exhaustion, and absenteeism, just to name a few. Implementing workplace wellness programs has become a vital piece in both maintaining and improving employee health. The Society for Human Resource Management (commonly known as SHRM) released a 2015 Employee Benefits Report that discussed the uphill trend in implementing workplace wellness programs, addressing preventable and chronic disease programs in particular.

RAND Corporation also released a brief on wellness programs, titled “Do Workplace Wellness Programs Save Employers Money.” It took a closer look at the two most common components of a wellness program:

  1. Lifestyle management program- mitigates longer-term health risks, like smoking or obesity
  2. Disease management program- addresses immediate health problems, or chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes

It also explained the difference in ROI depending on which program you use. Overall both programs are shown to reduce an employer’s average healthcare costs by about $30 per member per month, but 87% of those savings came from disease management programs.

Disease management drives return on investment from workplace wellness programs.

Since lifestyle behaviors are deeply ingrained, changing those ‘unhealthy’ behaviors becomes a challenge for most organizations. One way to offset that challenge is with the use of incentives and rewards.

GiftCard Partners teamed up with Shapiro+Raj to explore the shift toward wellness programs and the challenges employers have to really engage their workforce. What they found was an evolution in the incentives and rewards used in these programs, from common cash and premium reductions, to the use of gift cards.

Find the right reward

Taking findings from all three of these reports we’ve compiled our Workplace Wellness Infographic to show the growing popularity of workplace wellness and the key role incentives and rewards play in motivating and engaging your workforce.

Click on the Workplace Wellness Infographic for a larger view

workplace wellness infographic

Lauren is the Marketing Specialist here at GiftCard Partners. She enjoys all things marketing and design related. Learning about the newest trends and technologies in the b2b gift card world and seeing how we can use them to develop the best experience for our audience and reader base is our goal.

Smoking at Work: Not What it Used to Be

smoking at work

Smoking at work is not what it used to be. In the days of Don Draper, it was something everyone did, all the time, whether they were at work or home. Now, it’s difficult to find a restaurant that even has a smoking section. According to a recent SHRM study that addresses smoking at work, employers have smoking cessation programs on their minds.

According to the survey, 47% of responding employers restrict their employees smoking in some way during working hours.

  • 58% limit where employees can smoke
  • 30% limit the number of times employees can smoke during the course of the work day
  • 31% ban smoking altogether

Many employers are finding that smoking can be distracting and disruptive to the workday. Not to mention it has obvious and proven health risks that raise costs for healthcare and strain the employee/employer relationship.

So how are you going to get your employees to quit without being too pushy?

Remember that old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink?” What if you provide so much proverbial water, that it can’t be ignored? Under the Affordable Care Act, employers can incentivize smoking cessation through premium deductions of up to 50%. Creating a well of education on healthy, smoke-free lifestyles not only helps give employees a starting point, but it can have a real financial impact on both your employees and your business.

Want to add an extra incentive to your program outside of a healthcare premium deduction? CVS/pharmacy is both a leader in smoking cessation (eliminating all tobacco products in 2014) and in health and wellness program rewards.

With a suite of gift cards, CVS/pharmacy offers rewards for every employee and every wellness-related program. The CVS/pharmacy Select® Card is a selectively filtered gift card that debits on only health-related items, eliminating things like candy and sodas.

Find the right incentive

Smoking cessation seems like an easy win, or maybe even obvious but it can lead to healthier living for employees and lower costs for employers.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Engage Your Employees With Wellness Challenges

Wellness Challenges

Wellness challenges are becoming all the rage at workplaces across the country and are encouraging employees to become happier, healthier, and more energetic at work. Requiring little to no investment, the challenges help to promote a supportive, positive climate of camaraderie and fun.

Creating Wellness Challenges

Wellness challenges can be created by anyone within your organization, but since challenges are a team effort, engagement would likely be increased when ideas and input are provided from everyone. Consistent challenges are key to keeping everyone engaged. Short duration challenges are more focused and effective as well.  A weeklong or month-long challenge is most effective.

Reward Efforts in Wellness Challenges

Wellness challenges are most successful when they are easy to participate in and have an attainable goal. One example would be a company having a month long challenge for employees to take a walk during their break, or trade in their unhealthy snacks for a piece of fruit or other nutritious offerings. For every day they complete the challenge, the employee would get a point. Throughout the month, employees would have had unique experiences that they can share with their colleagues. While rewards are optional, opting to reward employees with gift cards, time off, or other non-cash incentives is highly recommended. Rewards handed out at a monthly meeting is the recognition ‘icing on the cake’. You can also use this time to discuss the next challenge.


Find the right reward

Wellness Challenge Ideas

Wellness challenges can be physical, nutritional, emotional, and even educational. The key is to have fun and keep employees happy, healthy, and more energetic.

  • Sleep 7 hours per night
  • Drink 32 oz of water during working hours
  • Exercise for 30 minutes – every 30 minutes equals 1 point
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Bike to work
  • Express gratitude to others
  • Read a self-help book
  • Share lunch with a coworker

Remember that measurement is often subjective. Do not worry if people are being less than honest when it comes to participating in the challenges. They are only missing out on the real benefits of the experience.

Subscribe to Corporate Wellness Magazine today to get the latest tips and more for your corporate wellness programs.

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.