You know data is the lifeblood of a corporate wellness program, but is your data telling the right story? Convincing a client to invest in their employees' health is not always an easy sell.

How you weave employee data into your story can mean the difference between resistance and acceptance. The following offers tips for developing a best-selling story for your data.

Imagine you are writing about a murder trial, for example. Before you start, you would need details about the case. Who was the victim? Who is the accused? What are the facts about the case? All that information determines how you present your story.

Gather your data about your client's wellness case, including the following:

* Employee information - demographics, employee surveys and paid time off reports;

* Health information - health screenings, claims data;

* Workplace - environment, culture, communication practices.

For existing wellness programs, your storyboard for analysis includes 1) member satisfaction; 2) member participation; 3) an assessment of the current environment/culture; 4) measurements of health risks and other individual results; and 5) health care and program costs.

Use external sources for unbiased benchmarking and analysis. Good resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and the American Journal of Health Promotion.


Define your purpose

There are multiple ways to tell your story. With the murder trial example, you could write the story from the perspective of the victim's family or create an objective documentary. How you tell your client's wellness story depends on your purpose.

Best-selling authors top the charts by understanding and catering to their audience. You do the same as an employee benefit adviser by tailoring sales presentations to your audience. Use that knowledge and skill when incorporating data into your client's wellness story.

You have the data. You know your purpose and audience. Now it is time to pull your story together. Have you read a book where the first line reeled you in? Capture your audience's interest from the start with a strong opening. Data can help deliver that powerful punch.

Build your story with information that is relevant and specific to the client's needs. Link the data to your client's business and tell a story that speaks to what your audience cares about.

For HR professionals that could be the human side of the business - employee satisfaction, reduced turnover. The C-suite wants evidence of a good return on their investment.

Wrap up your story with your audience wanting more. Creating a best-selling story for employee health relies on data that holds the key to solutions. Unlocking the answers requires a determined purpose, and an understanding of what your client views as a happy ending.

Data provides the clues - you provide the happy ending.

Taylor, CWPM, is director of health and productivity at Alliant Insurance Services in Newport Beach, Calif. She can be reached at

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