Is YOUR program working?
How will you know? When will you know?
Conducting an evaluation of a wellness program is a key requisite throughout the life of each activity. Using the appropriate measuring tools will assist you in determining how a program is performing and if it is aligned with the wellness vision.
The CDC describes program evaluation for public health as the “examination of the worth, merit, or significance of an object.”
Is YOUR program working?
How will you know? When will you know? What needs to be put in place in order for a thorough evaluation to take place?
A break-even analysis, a Return On Investment, and more frequently The Value of Investment (VOI) can measure aspects of a program. VOI can be measured through identifiable improvements, level of engagement, and level of satisfaction, and when thinking about your own organization, you may want to consider how you will use VOI to measure areas such as:
· Job satisfaction
The holistic approach to wellness is a shift from solely looking at the bottom line and other healthcare drivers to embracing a broad and more complete attitude towards well-being and what it means to be healthy. While VOI analysis may not show a direct monetary result, evaluation will reflect information such as:
· Job satisfaction improved by x percent
· Employee retention improved by x percent
· Productivity increased by x percent since the program began
· Absenteeism reduced by x percent in a 12 month period
A realistic timeframe is important otherwise a program will either be evaluated too early or too late. If it is conducted too early, there may be insufficient data, or the poor results may indicate that a program is not working when it has simply not had sufficient time to develop into a positive outcome. Different programs require different times to mature in order to be assessed, for example:
· a lunch and learn session can be evaluated immediately following the event with five or so questions on paper or using an e-questionnaire
· a daily walking program might be evaluated after eight weeks
· a tobacco cessation program may need to be assessed after a minimum of six months
Finally, be creative when communicating the acquired information to your organization. For example:
· A medical device company placed a poster in the cafeteria showing that since implementing healthier snack option there was a 45 percent reduction in soda purchases
· A computer software company placed a poster in an elevator and by the stairs to highlight that the “Let’s Move” campaign resulted in 81 percent of employees signing up and walking a total of 1000 miles
· An aerospace company placed a photograph (with approvals from the individuals represented) in the break room depicting the employees who successfully quit smoking following participation in a tobacco cessation program
Creating a wellness program is an amazing opportunity to embrace new healthier practices that, with the right environment, will grow and develop into lifelong habits.