Wellness programs are out. Wellbeing strategies are in.

Something isn’t right. As a country, we are getting sicker every day. Productivity is on the decline, and most employees report not being engaged while on the clock. Relentless increases in healthcare costs are crippling organizations, and the future promises more of the same. We are quickly reaching a crossroads where the cost of healthcare and the impact of lost productivity will cause irreparable damage to organizations of all sizes.

Part of the problem is that traditional approaches to wellness have not delivered on the promise of reduced cost and improved productivity. Many of these wellness programs were poorly constructed and inconsistently delivered. As more vendors poured into the space, the quality of services offered began to vary widely and choosing an effective partner became more and more challenging for employers. Even the higher quality programs available were limited in their impact because they focused only on physical health problems instead of fueling the whole person.

The bottom line is this: It’s time to set aside wellness “programs” in favor of wellbeing strategies. It’s time for a new approach that goes beyond wellness to true potential.

True potential occurs when individuals are exceling in every facet of their lives: physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. It occurs when an organization is experiencing higher performance, organizational trustworthiness and employee engagement.

Reaching true potential is marked by:

  • Individuals who are thriving, contributing, connecting and learning.
  • Lower healthcare costs and improved productivity.
  • A culture built on trust where people do their best work.

True potential isn’t about managing someone’s health or changing behaviors. It’s about creating opportunities for individuals to live their best lives and do their best work. It’s about establishing a fresh perspective, shaping a trustworthy culture and nurturing healthy habits. This approach requires us to reevaluate everything we have come to accept with the status quo and to move beyond it.

Applying this new mindset starts with re-evaluating what success looks like. It requires us to specifically identify what we are trying to accomplish and how to meaningfully measure it.

Too often, vendors create their own metrics for demonstrating ROI, based on their specific strengths or self-generated formulas that don’t hold up to intense scrutiny. This has created a lot of noise and eroded the credibility of outcomes generated by traditional wellness programs. Measuring ROI has been a huge debate and an enormous distraction for decades. In the new model, we must set our sights on a meaningful method to measure progress toward true potential, one that can be an accurate and credible barometer of value.

Where do we find such a standard? Thanks to foundational research by the University of Michigan, which spans 40 years and 4 million healthcare claims, we have the answer. Through this research, the University identified 15 benchmark risks in physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing that most directly impact healthcare costs and productivity.

This set of benchmark wellbeing risks is the gold standard when gauging the effectiveness of wellbeing strategies aimed at fueling true potential. These benchmark wellbeing risks are the set of factors that most directly affect the bottom line and the wellbeing of a population, the factors that make the difference between reaching true potential and falling short of it. By using this scientifically-valid standard to measure and evaluate your efforts, you can hold vendors and partners accountable for delivering and demonstrating results and have confidence that you are receiving a return on your investment of time and money. This is a necessary first step in taking a fresh approach to improving the wellbeing of your population.

Want to learn more about the roadmap for reaching true potential? Contact us today for a consultation and also receive a free whitepaper from our partner CHC Wellbeing. We can help you transform your wellness programs into wellbeing strategies that get results.