WHE01: 5 Components of Workforce Health Engagement

by Joe Sherwood on April 13, 2014

Workforce health EngagementWorkforce health engagement: improving the knowledge, decision-making, and behaviors of employees, their families, and organizational leaders to optimize health outcomes, control medical costs, and enhance workplace productivity.

According to recent studies, the typical wellness or other workforce health program produces only minimal improvement in long-term employee health and health care costs. Some employers, however, have achieved significant improvement in health metrics and costs, as well as improved employee engagement, productivity, recruitment, safety, and trust in management. One of the key factors to success is whether it’s simply HR’s “program of the day” — or an authentic component of your corporate culture.

Over the course of this series, some of the episodes will discuss specific strategies for improving workforce health and managing costs. For example, wellness communication and education, steering employees to appropriate hospitals and providers, epidemiology and population health management, online tools for health care consumerism, healthy workplace eating options, gamification, workplace clinics, benefit plan design, disease management, and more.

But each of these strategies won’t be as effective by themselves as they would be as a component of an integrated approach to workforce health engagement, including:

Analytics: Identifying patterns, causes, and effects of health conditions in defined populations; selecting health interventions from the full health care spectrum (wellness to complex care); and evaluating outcomes to help the organization get the best return from its health care spending.

Consumerism: Tools, education, and motivation to help employees and family members make decisions (regarding provider, treatment type, medication, follow-up care, etc.) that optimize health outcomes and cost-effectiveness.

Plan Design: Provisions of employer-sponsored health care coverage that influence how health care services and pharmaceuticals are selected, purchased, and used.

Resources: People, technology, programs, and activities designed to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent the onset or acceleration of disease, and improve recovery from illness or injury. Examples include screenings, workplace fitness facilities and activities, care coordination, disease management, workplace clinics, telemedicine, workplace food options, and more.

Culture/Programming/Communications. Engagement strategies and tactics to influence attitudes, behaviors, and habits regarding health consumerism, plan design, and resources and coaching.

Joining Jesse on the show is Terry Sherwood, his colleague from Aspendale Communications. Terry has over 25 years of experience helping companies communicate effectively with their employees. Her diverse background in human resources, corporate communications, and marketing provides a blend of creativity and practicality that delivers results. Terry has held senior consulting positions with several large consulting firms, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

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