Larry Chapman’s Blog

Results-Driven Worksite Wellness

Solution Set #3 – Draft Program Evaluation Plan

Source: Chapman Institute

What is this about?

Author:  Larry Chapman. One of the toughest challenges wellness professionals face is planning an evaluation of their wellness program. It’s a hard thing to do because evaluation can be both difficult and time-consuming for wellness staff.  It is also difficult to keep evaluation projects from creeping beyond their boundaries or appropriate limitations designed to help focus and keep the evaluation feasible to perform each year.  Often it can be hard to enlist management support for program evaluation without managers having unreasonable expectations about the evaluation.

Senior managers often want a comprehensive evaluation of their employee wellness efforts, performed with rigorous research methods, producing highly valid outcomes, while not requiring any additional resources to perform.  Not an easy task for anyone to achieve! These unrealistic expectations sometimes cause program managers to ignore evaluation entirely – which often comes with its own perils.

Therefore, the major evaluation challenge for wellness professionals is to: keep their proposed evaluation feasible and simple to understand, approved ahead of time by senior management, producing valid and objective evaluation feedback while assuring that the evaluation can be repeated consistently each year in a sustainable manner. This Solution Set is designed to help you meet this programming challenge.

Why is this important?

This one-page draft of an evaluation plan for your employee wellness program is important because it provides an easy and quick template you can use with senior management to get advanced approval for how you can evaluate your organization’s wellness effort and report back to your executive team.

What can you do with this document?

Here’s what you could do with this document:

  • First, read it over and make sure it includes the evaluation questions you want to address and the appropriate timing of reporting to senior management.
  • Using the draft, discuss it with your employee advisory committee members.
  • Circulate it to your Wellness Ambassadors and request feedback.
  • Either directly or through your supervisor, send it to your executive team and ask them if this proposed evaluation of the employee wellness effort meets with their approval. (Suggestion: request a desired response date from them.)
  • Once approved by senior management, use the plan to set up your program evaluation and reporting structure.
  • At the end of the program, year use the plan to put an annual evaluation report together.

In summary, this 1-page document can be used to help organize and gain agreement from senior management on the evaluation plan for your employee wellness program.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Health, United States, 2017 with a special feature on mortality

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, CDC

Author:  Larry Chapman

What is this about?

This annual government report of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) provides the most recent and complete summary information on the major health trends affecting all Americans.  It is a handy guide for those of us who periodically want to provide some perspective to management and others on the health of employees and their family members.

This 87-page report contains 114 detailed trend tables that highlight major trends in health statistics in the four areas: health status and determinants, health care utilization, health care resources, and health care expenditures. The Chartbook section includes 30 useful figures (you can easily lift out of the document) reflecting these trends as well as a special section on our changing national experience with population mortality.

Particularly useful information in the report includes data on:

  • Major health risk prevalence for use in analyzing HRA and health survey aggregate data
  • Major chronic disease prevalence for similar comparisons
  • Levels of health care service utilization for comparison with claims data
  • Health care expenditure levels for comparison with claims data
  • Mortality associated with major risk factors
  • Similar life expectancy comparisons

Why is this important?

This major government report consolidates the major health statistics for our nation.  It provides a large number of useful comparisons and can be used to contrast the health and health care use patterns of our employee population with national data.  State and selected regional data are also available from NCHS.
Another reason this report is important is that it provides us with the trends that are affecting all these health issues for our own organizational planning. These trends enable us to make stronger cases for increased funding of employee wellness efforts and for selected changes in our programming strategies.
An additional reason that the data in this report is important is that it helps enhance our own technical credibility with senior management.

How can it be used?

Here’s what you could do with this document:

  • First, spend some time looking it over to fully absorb the significance of the categories of data and the implications of the data.  (Page 10 starts the index with embedded links to tables and figures)
  • Next, determine when and where you might use the data with senior managers, mid-level managers, advisory group members and wellness champions.
  • Use the data to make a pitch for increased budget or movement to a Result-Driven program model.
  • Think about how the data might fit into periodic briefings with management.
  • Try putting some of the data from your own program alongside of some of these key metrics from the report to help managers understand the program’s potential impact.
  • Use this data in your program evaluation efforts to provide comparison points.

In summary, this 87-page report can be used to help your senior management and others to understand what national trends are affecting the health of your workforce and to emphasize the importance of your wellness program in countering the negative trends.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Solution Set #3: Wellness Program Results Hierarchy

Source:  Chapman Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

Ever find yourself wondering what results people actually expect from an employee wellness program?

Over the years I have had lots of conversations trying to nail this issue down with executives and program staff. One executive I talked with had a crazy idea that just doing a wellness program in any old way would produce all kinds of impact on his health plan costs.  I tried to reason with him to help him see that the way you do wellness programming will have an enormous impact on the magnitude and type of results you get.  Unfortunately, he proved to be closed-minded about this issue, to his ultimate disadvantage and the ultimate demise of his wellness program.

Having been involved in more than 1,000 employee wellness programs over the past 40 years has left me with the very strong belief that most business leaders know very little about the results of wellness programs.  That’s why I developed the Wellness Program Results Hierarchy diagram in this issue of Connections.

This diagram is intended to provide a number of key insights about wellness program results.  The major insights are:

  • Worksite wellness programs have a profound potential to improve the lives of employees and to achieve significant economic benefits for both employees and employers.
  • However, there is a “hierarchy” of results that need to be addressed in the design and operation of employee wellness programming.
  • Results of these programs are linked in various ways to each other – sometimes in unappreciated or underappreciated ways.
  • There are “lower-order” results that are required to produce “high-order” results.
  • You generally cannot get the “higher order” results without attaining the “lower order” results first.
  • You don’t get the “higher-order” results unless you “cross the chasm” and move from short-term to long-term wellness behavior.
  • Using the terminology “crossing the chasm” should become a major part of our discussions with senior managers about employee wellness programming.
  • Few wellness programs use specific strategies to “cross the chasm” and achieve long-term wellness behavior change among participants.
  • Getting the full results of employee wellness programs takes more effort than most employers want to expend. (Thus, the importance of the economics of worker health.)

Why is this important?

This document is critically important because it lays out an easily graspable perspective on the expected results for these types of programs.  The hierarchical structure means that you don’t get the higher order results without attaining the lower order results first.  The hierarchy communicates the “inconvenient truth” that wellness programs are not going to produce their full potential results without a significant commitment from employers to attain the lower level results.  That commitment has to include a sound program design, dedicated and adequate resources, management priority, skilled staff, and a long-term commitment. They say one picture is worth a thousand words and this picture (graphic) is no different. This diagram can also be used to help explain why the current wellness program may be underperforming or not delivering the “desired goods.”

Another reason this graphic is important is that it provides an all-too-rare focus on the importance of moving beyond short-term wellness behavior and actually helping people make long-term wellness behavior change.  You don’t get the higher order programming results without helping employees and their family members make long-term behavior change. If senior managers don’t appreciate the need to “cross the chasm” and move employees into long-term behavior change they will usually be disappointed in their wellness program efforts.  This frequently leads to inadequate funding, lackluster programs, and minimal program effectiveness.

An additional reason that this graphic is important is that the “chasm” can be crossed by emphasizing the AMSO construct.  Remember AMSO from the training?  Each certification level of the WellCert program delves deeper into how to use AMSO to assure the shift from short-term behavior change to long-term thereby “crossing the chasm.” AMSO speaks to having in your program: an annual awareness-raising activity for all participants, strategies that enhance the level of motivation of participants, ways of helping people acquire the new skills associated with the new healthy behavior(s) they want to adopt and the provision of sufficient opportunity for them to practice the new skills.

How can it be used?

Here’s what you could do with this document:

  • First, spend some time looking it over to fully absorb the significance of the hierarchy and the implications mentioned above.
  • Next, determine when and where you might use the diagram with senior managers, mid-level managers, advisory group members and wellness champions.
  • Use the diagram to make a pitch for increased budget or movement to a Result-Driven program model.
  • Think about how the graphic might fit into periodic briefings with management.
  • Try putting some of the key metrics into the framework to help managers understand the program’s potential impact.
  • Use the diagram in your program evaluation efforts to provide an alternative framework to consider.
  • Use the diagram to present the AMSO construct as a way of help assure the program results management wants from the wellness program.

In summary, this 1-page diagram can be used to help your senior management understand what it takes for your wellness program to produce the results that are desired.  Program staff can use the diagram to explain why the program is under-performing and to make a case for increased funding or a shift in program strategy.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Solution Set #2: Worker Health Cost Worksheet

Source: Chapman Institute

Author: Larry Chapman

I have a vivid memory of sitting across from the CEO of a company with 18,000+ employees after I had asked him how much he was spending per year on worker health.  His reply initially startled me. He said, “I have no idea how much worker health is costing us.”  Unfortunately, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to most of us. Employers just don’t know even what cost elements should go into that analysis nor what dollar magnitude of costs they are experiencing.

How much should your company spend on employee wellness?  A related and important question for all of us!  The answer to that question is directly related to the current cost of worker health to the organization.  This Connections newsletter edition contains a downloadable Solution Set document that is a worksheet to help you determine how much your company is currently spending per year on each employee’s health and their family member’s health. Most of this information is available from your own financial management staff, but you have to ask for it and put it together for presentation to senior management.

The current typical national numbers are somewhere between $22,000 and $45,000 per full-time employee per year. That amount consists of health plan cost, sick leave absenteeism cost, workers’ compensation cost, disability insurance costs, and presenteeism costs or losses.  If your senior managers know how much your organization is paying on average for these costs they are usually a lot more willing to spend money on wellness programming.

Remember, as a senior manager I can much more easily justify spending $500 per employee per year on an employee wellness program if I realize we are currently spending $32,000 per employee per year on their health and well-being. Especially if that $500 will be spent to help reduce the rate of future growth associated with the $32,000 per employee per year cost.

Why is this important?

This document is important because it lays out a detailed process for you to develop your own organizational data about your current cost of worker health.  This is critical to management’s reaction to your budget request for wellness programming. If you don’t know how much employee health issues are currently costing your company then you don’t have an adequate economic context for senior management to weigh in on your wellness budget. No context – no perspective – no budget.

This kind of economic information is also important because it makes it much more likely that senior management will want to have greater ownership over the wellness initiative rather than transfer that responsibility to an outside vendor.  If wellness has little economic value to the organization, it is more likely that management with seek to outsource the program leading usually to more mediocre results.

What can you do with this document?
Here’s what you could do with this document:

  • First, read it over and clarify how to proceed with the data collection and analysis process.
  • Ask you FM staff for total amounts and the size of the population that generated the data points.
  • Then decide how you will get the totals into – per employee per year (PEPY) costs.
  • Put the PEPY costs together into a pie chart for presentation to senior managers.
  • Add all the costs together to come up with the total costs per employee per year (PEPY).
  • Make some projections on how those costs will likely grow next year.
  • Request your wellness budget on a PEPY basis and identify the amount as a percentage of the current worker health cost. (Usually less than 2%)
  • Use these numbers and this data in reporting to management and in the evaluation of your wellness program.
  • Use consistent methodology when measuring worker health cost in subsequent years.

In summary, this 2-page document can be used to guide your analysis of your own organization’s worker health costs.  This information is critical to senior management’s willingness to fund employee wellness efforts.  Without this kind of information, it is very difficult to get adequate funding of employee wellness efforts.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

New National Physical Activity Guidelines

Source:  Department of Health and Human Services and the American Medical Association

Author:  Larry Chapman

80% of U.S. adults and adolescents are not active enough. That’s a major problem for the future health of Americans. The federal Department of Health and Human Services and the American Medical Association have examined the scientific evidence and are promulgating a new set of guidelines regarding physical activity.

In summary: Preschool-aged children (3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. Adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Solution Set #1: Quick Senior Management Survey on Wellness

Source: Chapman Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

It’s always surprising to me to find out how few employee wellness programs have a clear set of management endorsed goals and objectives.  No guilt intended!   Often, I find it’s because senior managers never do the work to arrive at a clear consensus on what they want their wellness program to achieve or the results they expect.

This problem represents one of the most significant challenges facing those who are responsible for worksite wellness efforts.  If there is no clear senior management consensus on what these programs are expected to do, then any kind of activity is seen to be of equal value.  The unfortunate outcome tends to be a heavily “tactical” approach to wellness, lackluster programming, minimal budgets, relatively low management priority, and relatively low employee participation.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Wellness in the Age of the Smartphone

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

Few technological innovations have had as much impact on our day to day lives as the Smartphone and the ever ubiquitous screen presence. Unprecedented connectivity to news sources, larger communities of interest, instantaneous contact with family members through text messaging, notifications, reminders, email access, capability of benefiting from more than 320,000 apps, internet access, unlimited music streaming, Alexia and photography at our fingertips to name just a few. What is not to like? It’s not that this technology is inherently bad…its that it is probably too good!

Like all innovations in human culture and particularly technology-based innovations, we usually go through a predictable pattern of awareness, adoption, use, mis-use and discovery of the cautionary side of the innovation involved. Smartphones and screen technologies are no different. They can richly benefit our lives, but they also come with a cost. This edition of Connections brings one of the first reports on the opportunity costs or cautionary tales associated with excessive Smartphone use.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Fighting Obesity Requires Collective Solutions

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

Most of us know how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off long term.  After all, this is the land of the Yo-Yo diet.  It seems that the U.S. is in the center of a “perfect storm” regarding obesity and this edition of Connections provides a candid recognition by the medical community of the failure of clinical efforts to help people attain and then maintain healthy weight status.

In the Report from the Catalyst project at New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM), a large number of clinicians and experts were surveyed on their assessment and what they think it will take to help Americans reach healthy weight status. Their primary conclusion shouldn’t surprise us too much.  They found that almost everyone surveyed believes we have failed miserably and that there needs to be a host of collective solutions to achieve any substantial progress in solving our unhealthy body weight problem as a nation.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Wellness 2030: A Look at the Future of Wellness

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Author:  Larry Chapman

With the rapid process of change impacting American society and for that matter, all the other developed nations, it seems appropriate to take a quick look at a somewhat edgy look at the future ahead.  This report on Wellness in 2030 proposes trends and events that are likely to affect our wellness efforts and the demands that shape our careers and our field. Take a few minutes to peruse this futuristic report and note what resonates with your own perceptions.

In the Report, the pursuit of happiness is seen as the major way wellness will be manifested in the future.  Five key trends are seen as shaping this projected vision of future reality.  Several thought-provoking insights in the Report do deserve more attention.  However, as in all things future-oriented, time will tell.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

Meeting the Major Programming Challenges: Introducing “Solution Sets”

Source: Chapman Institute

Author: Larry Chapman

There are a range of major challenges facing virtually all worksite wellness professionals and programs. After conducting a number of formal and informal surveys and a rather extensive literature search process we have identified approximately 16 major challenges that virtually all worksite-based wellness programs face.

In response we have now developed solution set documents for each of those 16 major challenges and have integrated them into the 4 levels of WellCert certification training. This edition of Connections newsletter introduces the 4 major challenges and the recommended solution document for the Level 1 CWPC Course to all WellCert members. The first 4 Solution Set documents are combined into the downloadable PDF for this Connections newsletter. Word versions of each document are available on our website.

Click here to download this document

NOTE: You will need to have an active WellCert Membership in order to download this document.

I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].