The meaning of success is different for each of us. Whether we are talking about business or personal achievement, we define success by what matters most to us. Is it any wonder that your clients have different ideas about what spells success for a corporate wellness program?

Corporate wellness success has a unique interpretation for individuals within the same organization. To the C-suite, it's often financial. For HR, it may be cultural or environmental. Assisting clients in defining success in their corporate wellness program helps you find a better solution for your clients - and solutions are what all clients are looking for.


Root spelling

Contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee often ask if the dictionary lists a root word for the one they are about to spell. The root word delivers clues to its spelling. You may find getting to the root spelling of success for your clients requires some digging on your part.

Defining success is not the same as setting goals. The definition is more broad based and high level, such as creating a return on investment or improving employee morale. You may end up with several definitions of success, and that's okay. In fact, it helps deliver ownership to each individual for achieving that success. Once you have the definition, the next step is setting goals.


SMART spelling

There are varying forms for the goal-setting technique known as the SMART method. An effective version when setting goals for a corporate wellness program is establishing goals that are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound.

Specific goals define what your client is going to do and how they are going to do it. For example, a specific goal is offering a health risk assessment through a third-party vendor.

Measurable goals help your client manage goals, such as an 80% participation rate in the health risk assessment. If the goals are not measurable, your client cannot manage them.

Action-oriented goals reward specific actions. For example, if employees participate in the health risk assessment, they receive a reduction in their contribution to the health plan.

Realistic goals motivate and encourage success, such as providing access and assistance for completing health risk assessments.

Time-bound goals keep the program moving forward and guards against stagnation.

We have learned the importance of considering total well-being in constructing goals for the corporate wellness program, as evidenced through reports from the Gallup and Healthways Inc. Well-Being Index. The index measures the total health of individuals, including their physical, emotional and social health.

Incorporating goals for each dimension ensures overall success. Your clients' programs fall short when they focus only on physical wellness goals, such as decreasing the number of smokers or achieving a specific weight loss target. Those are solid goals, but they should be a part of the bigger picture.


Correct spelling

Spelling Bee champions do not happen overnight. It takes intensive study, practice and learning from past mistakes. The same is true in building a successful corporate wellness program.

Study the data from health assessments, employee surveys, claims and utilization information. This helps you and your client set goals that are specific and measurable. For example, if the data show low utilization in your clients' EAP, a possible goal is a dedicated communication campaign with a goal of a five percent increase in utilization. The goal is both specific and measurable.

Getting the goals right takes practice and learning from past mistakes. Here are steps you and your client can take to encourage success:

*Keep goals positive

*Re-evaluate goals regularly

*Prioritize goals

*Address and remove barriers to achieving goals

*Engage support through wellness committees or wellness champions

*Provide incentive through rewards

*Celebrate success

*If at first you don't succeed - try again.


Spelling success

Over time, your clients' definition of success will change. That's a good thing. It shows the corporate wellness program is better defined and they are learning from the outcomes. Few companies remain static. Changes in management, downsizing or expansion all have an effect on the culture and synergy in the workplace. Effective corporate wellness programs respond to change with flexibility and adjustments to wellness goals.

By helping your clients achieve their definition of wellness success, you will gain your own measure of success.

Taylor, CWPM, is a consultant and certified wellness program manager for Intercare Insurance Solutions in San Diego.

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