Complete Wellness Solutions contributed the data for this analysis
Employee wellness is a priority for enterprises today. While there are a lot of definitions floating, there is no standardized or defined meaning of ‘’wellness’’. Consequently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to wellness and population health management. Factors like industry, geography, employee demographics, and similar characteristics bring variation in health risk factors and workplace cultures across groups. Therefore, when it comes to designing an impactful wellness program, no clear structure can be considered to be substantial.
When we approached Jason from Complete Wellness Solutions (CWS) to get his take, he shared how CWS utilizes the following definition from the American Journal of Health Promotion1 to conceptualize wellness:
“Health promotion is the art and the science of helping people change their lifestyle toward a state of optimal health. Optimal health is defined as a balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health.”
CWS believes that ‘’lifestyle change can be facilitated though a combination of efforts to enhance awareness, change behavior, and create environments that support good health practices.”
Even though wellness has a clear and concise definition, there is little agreement and consistency in the industry regarding what constitutes a good wellness program. In a large review of corporate wellness programs (RAND 2012), significant variation was observed in even the basic components of wellness programs (see Figure 1). The majority of programs offered financial incentives (69%) and utilized a self-reported health risk assessment (65%), but only about half used clinical health screenings (49%), which are critical for program evaluation.
This inconsistency begs to redefine the meaning of wellness.
In 2013, CWS began working with a medium-sized long haul trucking company based out of Ohio. They tried various combinations, from conducting complete health screening by offering incentives to boost registrations to monitoring a variety of clinical, financial, and lifestyle metrics to ensure the program was effective. In the subsequent years, they monitored a variety of clinical, financial, and lifestyle metrics to ensure the program was effective.
The clinical outcome from the last 8 years showcased how the group’s average systolic blood pressure fell by 9.3% (140.5 to 128.6) and their average diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7.6% (87.6 to 81.4). With these reductions, the prevalence of Stage 2 Hypertension fell by 40% over the duration of the program in the stable cohort.
This case study helped us understand how a wellness program can help achieve a company-wide health target. Utilizing the above definition, enterprises can reach the common goals of healthcare and wellness for employees. To begin with, preventive screening is the first step toward wellness. Other aspects like disease management and mental and physical health support can only be achieved once we have a detailed-out insights from the screening tests. A lot can be achieved if these insights are put to good use.
Companies need to take initiatives in the direction of wellness while keeping in view the long-term health and success of employees.
Historically, humans are resilient to change and can adapt to unprecedented circumstances by gaining enough knowledge of the situation. Post pandemic, many organizations have come to the realization that we need a new definition of ‘wellness’ and put it to best use. While we are fixing the issue of burnout, we need to directly address mental health benefits, encourage time off and offer mental health days to the workforce.
1O’Donnell, Michael MBA, MPH “Definition of Health Promotion. Part III: Expanding the Definition.” American Journal of Health Promotion Winter 1989, Vol 3, No 3 page 5