Employee health and wellness programs aren’t trendy benefits, they’re increasingly important factors in attracting, engaging, and retaining employees. Comprehensive wellness programs also improve health literacy, reduce healthcare costs, and increase employee productivity. Employees are leaving for workplaces that show authentic concern for their well-being, and prospective employees are placing a higher value on health and wellness programs when considering new positions. This means that finding cost-effective ways to support your existing employees' needs while attracting new talent is vital to your bottom line.
A recent study found that while 91% of businesses report having a well-being strategy, more than half indicated that it hasn’t impacted employee behavior. At Wellsource, we believe this is due to a lack of engagement—a key indicator of a generic wellness program that doesn't consider the specific needs of your population.
A cookie-cutter approach just doesn’t cut it. To create a wellness program that meets varying needs, you have to understand your population. Data collected from a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) gives you a window into your population's health status, risk factors, and willingness to change so you can develop programs that truly help them. The HRA data also provides clear insight into the value of your wellness program and can be used to prove return on investment (ROI).
Researching HRAs and deciding on the right one can be overwhelming and time-consuming. So how do you choose?
Let’s look at some things to consider when choosing an HRA for your organization’s wellness program.
Define your Goals
Choosing an HRA begins with defining your goals and knowing what you hope to achieve with the HRA. These goals will guide your strategy and help determine which HRA provider offers the features you need to create an effective wellness program for your employees.
The SMART goal method used when defining your wellness program also applies when choosing your HRA. Do you need data for a comprehensive program launch that covers all aspects of a person’s health? Or, are you looking for condition-specific information for a wellness campaign aimed at reducing healthcare costs?
Your goals are as varied as the population you serve. The HRA provider you choose should have flexible options, customizable features, and the ability to generate detailed reports to ensure you’re gathering the right data to meet your goals and prove ROI.
Know your Budget
While this seems self-explanatory, knowing your budget will help guide your decision in choosing an HRA. And that means considering your time as well as your financial budget. While one HRA may appear to be less expensive, you might find yourself spending more on staff time. Think about your resources and be sure you can handle integration, monitoring, and/or regulatory compliance if these aren’t offered by the HRA company you’re considering.
Also be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when choosing between more than one HRA. Each company may have different features included with their product. Be wary of a low-cost HRA that has a lot of add-ons that can really sink your budget.
When evaluating your budget, it’s also important to consider ROI. After all, you need to know if you’re getting your money’s worth from the HRA. In one case study, a Wellsource client saw an $85,000 direct return on investment from their HRA. Be sure the product you’re considering has a proven track record of benefit to its clients.
Buy or Build
Once you determine your goals and budget, you might consider whether to build or buy an HRA. Some organizations think building an HRA in-house will save money. But, as any seasoned DIYer can tell you, those do-it-yourself projects can add up, often costing more than paying for professional services.
Creating an HRA with a user-friendly design that integrates with your software, meets state and federal regulations, and satisfies your organizational needs also requires a dedicated team to implement and manage.
In addition to the costs associated with building and training a team to execute these tasks, there are often unforeseen expenses, not to mention unmet compliance requirements that can incur hefty fines. Buying an HRA from an experienced company that offers dedicated support and customization is often the best way to get all of the features you need and the most bang for your buck.
Evaluate your Options
When it comes to HRAs, the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. A few of the key features to consider are:
- Content and design. You know your population, so the user experience, design, and content should meet their needs and yours.
- Integration and Implementation. Save yourself a headache by selecting an HRA compatible with your platform, website, and portal. And get a clear idea of what to expect during the integration process.
- Customization and reporting. Get details on the provider’s customization features and reporting tools to create data-driven programs and prove ROI.
Make an Informed Decision
Choosing the right health risk assessment is a big decision for any organization. There are a lot of variables to consider and it’s important to choose the HRA that best meets goals, fits your budget, and will have the greatest impact on population health and your bottom line.
Need help choosing the right HRA? Download our easy-to-use Checklist to save time and streamline your evaluation process.