Success StoryThe Well Employee Solution Health and Wellness Program DemonstratesSuperior Employee EngagementINTERMEDIATE OUTCOMES AT A MANUFACTURING FACILITYCompanies are increasingly implementing employee wellness programs today as more employers recognize thathelping people adopt healthy behaviors is critical to reducing long-term health care expenses and increasingproductivity. Additionally, corporate-sponsored wellness programs that proactively encourage employeeengagement can boost employee morale.The success of any employee wellness program depends on: • the level of employee engagement • the effectiveness of the program in facilitating behavior changeTo help employers create workforce wellness, Wellness Corporate Solutions has developed the Well EmployeeSolution model or W.E.S. W.E.S. is a comprehensive nutrition-based health and wellness program that engagesand empowers employees to make simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can significantly improve their health.The success of the W.E.S. program in engaging employees in health-promoting behaviors is demonstrated by aWellness Corporate Solutions client located in the South. This client has approximately 1100 employees, most ofwhom are hourly employees working 12-hour shifts in a manufacturing facility. Health challenges in this populationinclude overweight/obesity (60%) and high rates of metabolic syndrome (54%) and diabetes (60%). In addition,the long workday could be an impediment to participating in ―extracurricular‖ activities, and the lack of continuousaccess to a telephone could hamper use of the telephone coaching feature. Despite these obstacles, engagementin the program is extraordinary.Did you know…? • Obesity has surpassed smoking as the leading cause of preventable disease in the US. • Reduction in obesity could prevent as much as 80% of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke – 3 of the costliest heath conditions to employers.
Intermediate variables can predict outcomesThe W.E.S. program features both long-term and short-term components. The program is structured so that evenbefore long-term results are available, intermediate results can be used as proxy variables to predict outcomes,based on the premise that if performance on intermediate measures is good, then end-result outcomes should begood as well.Reported here are intermediate outcomes that demonstrate the program’s success in engaging employees in threephases: recruitment engagement, process engagement, and behavioral engagement. Despite the specialchallenges in this population noted previously, W.E.S. surpasses or matches industry norms on all three counts,predicting a high likelihood of sustained success.RECRUITMENT ENGAGEMENTRecruitment engagement refers to the program rollout, in this case a company-wide Health Fair where employeeswere invited to have a biometric screening including measurements of blood pressure, BMI, blood glucose andblood cholesterol. Employee participation at this event reflects how well the company has promoted the programand, to some extent, its broader efforts to foster a wellness environment.RESULTS: Fully 80% of employees completed the biometric screening at the Health Fair – twice the rate of participation predicted by industry experts for a comparable setting.1 ―I found out I had high blood pressure… ―It showed real commitment by I went to the doctor and got on blood pressure meds. Company X to making us healthier.‖ [The screening] probably prevented me from having a stroke.‖ —W.E.S. employee participantsPROCESS ENGAGEMENTProcess engagement is the extent to which participants who were engaged during recruitment continue toparticipate in other components of the program.RESULTS: W.E.S. program participation not only matched that of the opening event, but actually increased: 87% of employees completed personal health assessments, far exceeding the industry-wide average health assessment utilization of about 18%.2 The fact that participation rose in the weeks following the Health Fair suggests positive word-of-mouth about the W.E.S. program among employees.Another measure of process engagement is the percent of employees enrolling in telephone coaching. Even in thispopulation of hourly production workers, where use of telephone coaching would be expected to be minimal, useof the W.E.S. personal health coaching feature matched the industry standard.3W.E.S. Engagement Compared to Industry Standards I100% 80% Industry Standard Because I had high blood pressure at the screening, I 60% W.E.S. went to my doctor and he got me on blood pressure 40% medication. But since I stayed in the program, I have 20% now been given a choice to get off the meds and treat it 0% through diet and exercise.‖ Health Coach Assessment —W.E.S. Employee Participant1 Wellness Corporate Solutions2 American Institute of Preventive Medicine3 UnitedHealthcare press release June 25, 2008, Onsite wellness coaching for employers now available to Pennsylvania businesses.
BEHAVIORAL ENGAGEMENTBehavioral engagement measures the extent to which individuals have actually changed health behaviorsand/or outcomes by using the wellness program. W.E.S. results are available for two short-term team eventscalled ―challenges.‖Challenge 1: ―Maintain Don’t Gain‖A challenge called ―Maintain Don’t Gain‖ within the W.E.S. program is focused specifically on preventing weightgain during the period of vulnerability from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Holiday weight gain – even as little asone pound a year – is important, especially for those who are already overweight, because studies find it is notreversed after the holidays and ―the cumulative effects of yearly weight gain during the fall and winter are likely tocontribute to the substantial increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.‖ 4Measurements of behavioral engagement used in the “maintain don’t gain” challenge include: • Engagement rate = percent of those who enrolled in the challenge who completed the challenge • Success rate = percent of participants who maintained their weight or lost weight • Per person weight loss averaged over the entire group • Average per person weight loss only among those who lost weightRESULTS: Outcomes for employees in the W.E.S. ―Maintain Don’t Gain‖ weight control challenge Engagement rate Success rate Group average weight loss Weight losers’ average weight loss 81% 79% 2.6 lbs 4.4 lbsThe success rate in this ―Maintain Don’t Gain‖ challenge – almost 4 out of 5 individuals – is quite impressive giventhe normal tendency to gain weight during the holidays. More impressive still is the fact that 75% actually lostweight (an average 4 ½ pounds per person), while 4% maintained their weight. ―I watched what I ate ―I see a whole bunch of people ―People are feeling because I knew we had ―I did not want to let walking after lunch and they better and have a weigh-in when we got my team down.‖ say, ―Come on and walk with more energy.‖ back.‖ us - get your steps in!‖ —W.E.S. employee participantsChallenge 2: ―Win With Wellness‖The second challenge, ―Win With Wellness,‖ focused both on increasing physical activity and promoting weightloss. Metrics used to evaluate this program were similar to the ―Maintain Don’t Gain‖ challenge, with the additionof physical activity measured as steps taken (all teams wore pedometers for the duration of the challenge).RESULTS: Outcomes for employees in the ―Win With Wellness‖ challenge Engagement Success Total miles walked Average per person miles Average per rate rate (all teams) walked/week person weight loss 100% 100 % 28,328.5 mi 22 mi 4.9 lbs4 Yanovski JA, et al. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:861-67.
Everyone who signed up for this eight-week challenge completed it – a 100% engagement rate. This is criticalbecause a wide percentage range of attrition is normally seen in comparable worksite wellness events.5 Attritionrates in industry-sponsored weight loss programs range from 30% to as high as 80% -- in other words, as manyas 70% to as few as 20% of those who sign up actually go on to complete the program. In contrast, retention inboth of these two W.E.S. challenges beats the industry standards, proving the superiority of W.E.S. in engagingemployees.The second outcome measurement – 100% success rate -- is also highly unusual because all the participants lostweight! Further, the average amount of weight that they lost -- nearly 5 pounds – is significantly more than theaverage amount (2.8 pounds) seen in other workplace programs that have combined changes in nutrition andphysical activity.6 The challenge was highly effective in motivating participants to increase their physical activity.In fact, the total miles walked – more than 28,000 – is equal to walking between New York City and Los Angeles11 ½ times!Additional ResultsFocus group findings from the participants in the challenges tell us that team spirit, morale and camaraderie werevery high and suggest a positive impact of the entire W.E.S. program on productivity and employee morale.FOCUS GROUP SUMMARY FINDINGS • Multiple participants had changed their diet and increased their activity so that their health had improved enough for the participant to be taken off prescription medication. • Multiple participants discovered an early stage health issue and went to see their physician. • Multiple hourly participants noted that their co-workers were eating better, exercising more, and losing weight. • Most participants indicated that they felt better at work and were more productive.Put W.E.S. to Work for You!These results confirm that the W.E.S. program has superior ability to recruit, engage and change the behavior ofparticipants. Superior program engagement predicts higher success rates for your employees in improving theirhealth, which can ultimately translate into reduced health care costs and higher productivity for your company.Wellness Corporate Solutions specialists work with you to tailor the program for your employee population andneeds, providing a turnkey solution and proactively supporting your program implementation from launch throughall phases.Take your first step on the road to a healthier workforce and a healthier bottom line. To learn more about the W.E.S.program, visit us at www.wellnesscorporatesolutions.com.5Stunkard AJ et al. Weight loss competitions at the worksite: how they work and how well. Prev Med. 1989;18:460-74.6Anderson LM et al. The effectiveness of worksite nutrition and physical activity interventions for controlling employee overweight and obesity: a systematic review.Am J Prev Med. 2009;37(4):340-57.