Picking a wellness vendor is like shopping for a new car. Before you even go to the dealership you have already done a bit of research on the type of car you want. You have an idea of the features you’re looking for and have a budget with a some wiggle-room. Then you have your non-negotiables and absolute deal-closers. In the wellness world, with so many vendors all offering different programs, it can be hard to choose the perfect program, and for some some of you, it may be hard to even know exactly what you want.
Luckily, I’m here to help you save some time so that you can get right to the point and make the most beneficial investment for your company.
How do you know who to choose?
1. What Are The Qualifications Of Your Team?
This may be the most important question on the list because nowadays companies are popping up founded and operated by people with no experience or training and zero industry knowledge. Always ask for the background, certifications, education, training, or even media coverage of the entire team that you’ll be working with.
The staff isn’t limited to the people who will be coming in on site but also the consultants, coaches, technology team, and project manager. You want to make sure you’re choosing a winning team who stays up-to-date on the latest trends and research and are making contributions to the industry.
Even if the company is fairly new, you still can rely on the expertise of a rockstar team and that will take away some of the skepticism.
2. Is Your Team Passionate About Wellness?
If you are going to invest in a wellness program, you need to choose a vendor that’s made up of people who love their jobs, have a high sense of morale, and care about your employees. A team who is passionate about their work will exceed all your expectations and provide a top-notch service. Your wellness vendor should add energy and excitement to your program and keep your employees engaged.
3.How Much Flexibility & Customization Does Your Program Offer?
The one-size-fits-all approach will not work! Every company is different; they have unique needs, employees, and demographics. While the majority of vendors will claim that they can customize any program, you need to ask them specific questions to find out if they are being honest.
A wellness partner needs to create a program that will complement your company’s mission and be flexible enough to evolve as your company’s goals and needs may change.
Also, ask about the technology being offered: can the platform be customized, is it user-friendly, and are there options to integrate it with your current tools and applications? Can they implement your corporate branding?
Find out as much information as possible.
4.How Will Your Program Save Our HR Team Time?
You need a partner who will work with your team to design a program, build a wellness committee to act as change-makers for the organization, and implement the program.
- Will all the customer service and feedback be done by the vendor?
- Who will be doing the marketing and on-boarding?
- Who is in charge of all communications (emails, newsletters, health awareness campaigns)
- Who will plan the events?
- Who is in charge of designing contests and tracking progress?
Maybe a particular vendor charges a bit more than the competition, but consider the value of this program. If the wellness program is fully-managed by the vendor, and your HR team only needs to sign some checks, they’ll have more time to focus on their job ( hiring, recruiting, benefits, payroll, etc.).
The reason why many internally run programs fail is because the HR managers just don’t have enough energy to put towards designing a robust program.
If you spend a bit more on the front-end, but save time on the back-end and have a more productive HR team to bring in the top talent, you’re winning!
5.Is Your Approach Clinical Or Lifestyle Based?
Many vendors will focus on the clinical aspect of wellness (health risk assessments, biometric screenings, and health care spending) which is great, but unless there are elements to keep employees engaged in the program, you’ll see a high drop-off rate. A solely clinical program may scare employees from wanting to participate. The vendors that catch-the-eye are the ones who offer a mix of the two and have many metrics and methods to measure and validate their outcomes.
6.How Will You Set-Up Milestones?
Ask for an outline of how the program will be set-up. Have them walk you through the steps from signing the contract through the end of the first 12 months. You want to know how long the setup phase will be and how they plan to handle on-boarding? You’ll also want to know what they would consider a success for your company and what they plan to accomplish every quarter. Knowing that your potential partner has a road map of where they’ll take your company will give you peace of mind.
7.Can You Tell Us About Your Reporting Procedure?
And finally, a wellness program needs to provide results- ROI and VOI. This is the only way you’ll know that it’s working. When interviewing your potential vendor find out how easy is it to acquire data and are there any potential barriers towards receiving it from insurance companies?
You’ll want to know where the data is being stored, who has access to it, and how often reports can be produced. Is the vendor creating the reports using all the employee data or are they contracting it to a third party (which is fine, if they disclose this upfront)? Will they provide anonymous reports when it comes to employee health data? How detailed are the reports and can you choose specifically what you’d like to track?
This is a very short list and there are dozens of other questions that can be asked prior to choosing your partner. This list should give you some insight on how to interview potential vendors and will help you make comparisons between the companies that stand-out the most. After you’ve narrowed down your options, you can ask the vendors to give you a walk-through of their program and client experience. After going through this process, you’ll be better able to make a better business case for your team to move forward!