10 things to look for in a wellness program
If your employees aren’t benefitting from a wellness program, stop right now and ask yourself why? Is it because you haven’t found the right fit? Haven’t considered it at all? As a digital wellbeing solution that provides a unique and customizable platform, we’ve heard every reason in the book for wanting to switch vendors or explore them for the first time. And it makes sense: In this “post” COVID-19 era, more employees want adequate health and wellbeing support at work, according to a recent study surrounding the “Great Renegotiation.”
The search can feel arduous, and it can be difficult to know what to ask in that often-long RFP process. Where do you even start? Of course, the most important question when seeking a new wellness program is: How will this benefit my employees? Pretty simple, if you ask us. Here at Sonic Boom, our mission will always be to make our members’ lives healthier, happier, and more fulfilling by creating programs people love and want to take part in.
Find your next wellness program
If you’re in the market for a new (or your first) 2023 wellness program, here are 10 things to consider.
A wellness program is nothing if not engaging. Worksite wellness should include much more than once-a-year health screenings, over-incentivized rewards (which don’t create sustainable habits), boring health education, and ho-hum contests. Your program should demonstrate methods of engagement that not only keep members completing “required activities,” but also coming back to participate simply because they want to. Especially in our remote work environment, employers are looking for better ways to keep people connected and engaged. Example? Our Caught Ya module is a fun way to “catch” members being healthy and cheer them on. Ask your next vendor what their wellness program provides to boost and maintain platform engagement.
“Most X wins” contests feels so … mundane. A wellness vendor should instead provide ways for admins and members to customize contests and challenges to fit their visions and needs. Maybe someone wants to run a teams-based steps competition, and someone else wants to do an individual self-reported stress management contest. An ideal vendor can accommodate both options (and many more!). Our contest engine is one of the most versatile modules and allows all Sonic Boom members to build their own competitions, covering an array of pre-loaded topics, while also leaving flexibility to build totally from scratch. In fact, engagement and customization are two of our greatest strong suits.
Innovative incentive tracking
Many wellness programs include a rewards-tracking module that can help employers encourage and incentivize members to check off important health tasks each rewards period. A good incentive tool should be customizable, flexible, and able to report on an infinite range of events — annual doctor appointments, program participation, healthy habits, webinar completions, to name a few! A stellar platform can also accommodate both validated (tracker-based) and self-reported activities, segmented populations (location A wants these tasks, and location B wants these other tasks), and required updates from rewards period to rewards period. When seeking a new vendor, make sure to inquire about all the functionalities of their rewards program, including reporting options, customization, and any limitations.
Communication is key when it comes to facilitating ongoing participation. And customized communication is paramount when it comes to speaking to audiences with different needs, demographics, ages, social statuses, races, genders, and other factors. Whether eblasts, push notifications, “in-app” communications, challenges, posters, digital posters, or something else, all should be able to speak to the specific needs of your group, and your next vendor should have the expertise to assist with the creation of these. Creativity and personality drives up interest and sparks enthusiastic action as well (not stale medical jargon or boring health facts). Employees can only engage in programs they know exist; that’s why our communications cover many mediums, such as posters, flyers, how-to guides, emails, alerts, notifications, and loads of additional collaterals.
All solutions have bugs once in a while — but how quickly do they get resolved? A solid member success team is at the heart of the member experience. Customer service representatives who can quickly and efficiently squash (most) bugs can help boost those satisfaction scores and keep members happy (and healthy when they keep participating!). A company with a “zero-bug policy,” such as ours, is something to look for. This simply means the priority lies with eliminating hiccups within the same day, where possible, and following a 24-hour response time.
Collaborative client success team
A vendor’s highest priority should be to energize the wellness program and ensure success. What “success” means varies from company to company, so it’s important that your wellness vendor’s client success team takes the time to intimately understand your organization’s unique goals. The best way any vendor can help achieve ongoing goals is to provide consultative, collaborative, and, as we call, it, “white-glove” service. It shouldn’t be left to the employer to ensure the program goes off without a hitch. Instead, make sure your chosen solution provides dedicated client managers, coordinators, program analysts, and any other representatives necessary to set up, implement, and execute all necessities for the duration of the program. Ask your next vendor about admin communication as well — will their client success managers be accessible to admins during working hours?
Don’t leave your employees to fend for themselves when it comes to continuing health education! A wellness program should include self-guided education resources so that members can continue to elevate their health. From stress and finance, to nutrition and exercise, it’s key that your solution covers the gamut of factors that impact overall wellbeing. Health education can be anything from articles, quick takeaways, or actual courses. Our Sonic Boom Academy does just that — provides continuing education in all the relevant topics through self-paced classes, with a helpful quiz at the end. Plus, many clients incentivize the completion of our courses — it’s a win-win for earning rewards and learning something new!
There’s no one quite like a health coach (read: cheerleader) in your corner as you pursue your biggest health goals. Coaches work to have a deep understanding of members’ needs and use existing metrics and information to further enhance their sessions (think: Health Quality Assessment results). Whether an add-on service to an existing program or a standalone point solution (we prefer the former), health coaching is definitely worth the investment for members who want to take their wellness journeys to the next level. That’s why we brought our services in-house — all of our coaches are employed by Sonic Boom! — so that we could maintain the quality and culture of our great board-certified team. And our members love them!
What good is a program if it’s not available 24/7? What if an admin can’t get into the portal to pull reports or see informative metrics ahead of a big meeting? You never know when 5,000 steps might happen at 2 a.m., or when you might want to track some midnight hydration. But in all seriousness, accessibility is important to everyone involved with the program — from members, to admins, to our own client success teams. When dishing out RFPs to find your next wellness partner, ask how they manage down time (if any at all).
Things like health assessments, biometric screenings, physician forms, and other medical-related records all include very personal information. Even self-reported tracking reveals things like moods and eating habits … data a member may not want leaked all over the Internet. If that information is being integrated into your wellness program to help build a more personalized experience, you want to know it’s being protected! Inquire about security best practices when seeking a wellness vendor. Sonic Boom’s best practices can always be found here.
Do you have questions about how Sonic Boom can be that next best wellness vendor for your team? Request more information or a demo here to learn more.
Sonic Boom Team