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3 Reason to Outsource Your Employee Health and Wellness Program
As more and more companies implement health and wellness programs for their employees, more questions come up from those company decision makers who are in charge of putting the program in place. One of the most common is the question of whether to run the program from within the company, or outsource it to a health and wellness program provider. Certainly, these decisions are weighed heavily as a health and wellness program is an investment into the company, and one that management wants to get right the first time.
“What is found is that overall employee participation is higher when companies bring in an outside company to run their wellness programs"
In a good email conversation with Jake Pacheco, the founder of Modern Body Solutions, I was able to come away with 3 reasons why outsourcing your health and wellness programs is the right way to go about it. According to SmallBiztrends.com, close to half of the nearly 2,000 business decision-makers surveyed for the fifth annual Aflac workforces report said that their companies have implemented an employee health and wellness program, up from just 30% in 2012. Why the uptick? Because of the concrete results that these programs bring about. From reductions in absenteeism, health related costs, and employee turnover, to increases in productivity and worker satisfaction, health and wellness programs bring about the kind of change companies hunger for. Which is why a company should consider outsourcing their programs.
Employee participation may be the biggest factor in determining the success of a health and wellness program. Companies want to max the amount of employees who choose to participate, whether it be health screenings, exercise, joining the gym, etc. “What is found is that overall employee participation is higher when companies bring in an outside company to run their wellness programs. Employees don’t want to feel like they are being watched by big brother which it can feel like when say the companies HR team runs the program” explains the founder of Modern Body Solutions.
Employees are less likely to participate when a health and wellness program is run internally. And when they do participate, they are less likely to be completely honest or give 100% to the program. HealthyAmerican.com also echoed this thinking; “employees are often less reluctant to share highly personal medical information about themselves and their families with a contractor that is independent of the employer”. Participation is key to a program’s success. If 50% of employees are participating, then that means that the company is missing out from benefits of the other 50% of employees if they were participating.
For health and wellness companies, health and wellness is all that they do. Its their niche. Their forte. Their vocation. Their métier (fancy French word for profession). Just as your company works hard to provide the best product or service to your customer(s), a health and wellness provider does the same for their customer – your business. They thrive on providing real results for the companies that they work for. If they are not working hard to make your employees healthier, and if they cannot demonstrate results, then they are in jeopardy of losing business. This type of service provider to client relationship ensures that you are getting the bang for your buck and it keeps the pressure on the wellness provider to perform and provide programs that are effective. If employees see that the company is not putting in the resources for a comprehensive program, then they themselves are not going to put in the resources or time needed. Professional health and wellness providers know how to drive home the principles of nutrition and since they have the knowledge, they know what works and what doesn't. By providing engaging services (as seen in the next category), a health and wellness company is able to get employees thinking about their health. And that is the first step in creating an effective workplace wellness program.
Comprehensive health and wellness programs are your best bet to ensure success. A comprehensive health and wellness program includes nearly every aspect of one’s health and wellness. Why is this important? Because each employee is different. A good health and wellness program will offer enough services that each employee will be able to benefit. “There is a large investment required to offer a comprehensive health and wellness program in-house. Between setting up the services, hiring the staff, and spending the time to monitor and manage it, you are looking at a significant investment” says the founder of a health and wellness company, Jake Pacheco. “In order to make employees healthier, they need to be interested and engaged in their health. The days of putting up a poster that say ‘eat healthy’ are gone. You need to be able to provide employees with things that interest them, motivate them, and make them want to be a part of a healthier place to work, which is why so many of our services are interactive and engaging”. To be able to provide the types of services needed to make an effective program in-house, you would be talking about creating a completely new department in the company. When outsourcing, you get a company that knows the ins and outs, and has the appropriate staff to make your health and wellness program a success.
The question of in-house vs outsourcing always comes down to capabilities. If a company is able to manufacture a product itself at a high quality and good price, then it will. But if an outside vendor has better capabilities, then that presents itself as the best option. A great example of this process in action is advertising companies. How are these companies in business? Because smart companies understand their strengths and weaknesses. They understand that outsourcing their advertising to an ad agency provides the best outcome and greatest results, just as outsourcing to employee health and wellness providers will provide the best results for your company.