Report: Include spouses for better wellness coaching results

A new report from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and Mercer indicates that employers that follow best practices for workplace health management programs -- among them allowing spouses to participate in lifestyle coaching programs -- are more likely to report improvements in employee health and lower costs. 

In an analysis of data collected from more than 700 employers through the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practice Scorecard, researchers found that the best practices most strongly associated with positive outcomes were:

*             Including spouses in key components of the program.

*             Promoting all wellness activities under a single brand name.

*             Having a formal, written strategic plan with financial objectives.

*             Active participation by senior leadership in wellness programs.

Employers that permit spouses to participate in lifestyle coaching programs reported an average employee participation rate twice as high as the rate among organizations that don't include spouses (28 percent compared with 14 percent).  

The HERO Scorecard, which is available free of charge, provides employers with a means of evaluating their employee health management efforts. It is also a benchmarking tool, allowing them to compare their programs and outcomes against those of companies of similar size and in similar industries.