By William McPeck
A worksite wellness program needs preventive care just as employees do. And just like employees, you do want your program to receive preventive care, right?
What can the worksite wellness program coordinator do to keep their program from stagnating and becoming obsolete?
Every wellness program needs to build into its system a process for the systematic monitoring and testing of its theory of business. A theory of business is the assumptions upon which your program is built and runs. Thanks to change, every theory of business, at some time, becomes obsolete and invalid. Are there any preventive measures the wellness program coordinator can take? Yes, there are two:
Preventive Care Measure #1: Planned Abandonment
On a regular, periodic basis, you, as the program coordinator, should challenge everything you do. Famed management professor Peter Drucker suggests you periodically ask yourself: “If we were not in it already, would we be doing it now?”
By questioning everything you do, you are forced to think about your theories, assumptions, beliefs and practices. Questioning everything will help you to see new realities in the environment, how the program’s mission needs to change and to identify any core competencies that need to be acquired or developed.
Planned abandonment will help keep your program on track, aligned with the organization and doing the right things for the right reason. Planned abandonment will keep you from getting lost in the day-to-day program delivery grind and overtaken by events around you.
Preventive Care Measure #2: Walk Outside Your Program
Not only should you manage and lead by walking around your program internally, you should manage and lead by walking around outside your program as well.
The first signs of coming change generally become visible outside your program. Study those who do not participate in your program with the same zest you study program participants. You can learn much to help your program become successful and sustainable by studying the employees who do not participate, as much as you study those who do participate.
Look at how your organization is changing and how it is responding to changes in its market and customers. How might these changes impact employees and your program? What changes are happening in your organization’s industry and how might they likely impact your organization and your program? Finally, what large-scale societal and demographic changes are coming and how might they impact your organization and program?
Pay attention to the early warning signs of program decay such as:
• Achievement of your program goals and objectives – Celebrate the achievement, but start right away planning for what’s next.
• Rapid growth of the organization – Rapid growth without having systems and supports in place can prove fatal.
• Unexpected success
• Unexpected failure
Watch out for the miracle cure or the silver bullet. When a theory of business becomes obsolete or invalid, there is no silver bullet or miracle cure short of rethinking the theory, reanalysis of assumptions, planning and decisive action.
Preventive care consists of systematic monitoring and testing.
Brought to you by Bill McPeck, Your Worksite Wellness Mentor. Dedicated to helping employers and worksite program coordinators create successful, sustainable employee health and well-being programs, especially in small employer settings.