What are the best practices for health and wellness program management?

The Seven Cs

The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), an organization dedicated to the promotion of worksite wellness, has identified the seven best practices (the Seven Cs) for employers to follow when building a comprehensive, effective worksite wellness program within their organizations. (For more information on WELCOA, please visit www.welcoa.org.)

  1. Capture senior-level support – A commitment from the top is critical to the success of any wellness initiative. Management must understand the benefits of the program for both the employees and the organization and be willing to put funds toward its development, implementation, and evaluation. Descriptions of what competitors are doing in the way of health promotion and linking health promotion to business goals, values, and strategic priorities will help secure senior management support. Managers
  2. Create a wellness team – Wellness teams should include a cross-section of potential program participants, including employees. Your team should include individuals who will have a role in program development, implementation, and evaluation. This ensures broad ownership of the program and more innovative ideas. A wellness team will help garner buy-in from both management and participants, develop a program that is responsive to the needs of all potential participants, and will be responsible for overseeing all of the company’s wellness efforts.
  3. Collect data that will drive your health initiatives – Once your team is in place and management is on board, gather baseline data to help assess employee health interests and risks. The results of your data collection will guide you in what kind of health programs to offer. This process may involve a survey of employee interest in various health initiatives, health risk assessments, and claims analysis to determine current employee disease risk.
  4. Craft an annual operating plan – For your wellness program to succeed, you must have a plan. An annual operating plan should include a mission statement for the program along with specific, measurable short- and long-term goals and objectives. Your program is more likely to succeed if it is linked to the company’s strategic initiatives, as it will have a better chance of maintaining management’s support throughout implementation. A written plan also provides continuity when members of the wellness committee change and is instrumental in holding the team accountable to the goals, objectives, and timeline agreed upon.
  5. Choose appropriate health initiatives – The health initiatives you choose should come from your data (e.g., survey, HRA aggregate report, claims). The data should address prevailing risk factors in your employee population and be in line with what both management and employees want from the wellness program.
  6. Create a supportive environment – A supportive environment provides employees with encouragement, opportunity, and rewards. A culture of health that supports worksite health promotion might have such features as healthy food choices in vending machines, a no-smoking policy, and flexible work schedules that allow workers to exercise. Celebrate and reward health achievements and have a management team that models healthy behavior. Most importantly, a culture of health involves employees in every aspect of the wellness program from design and promotion, to implementation and evaluation.
  7. Consistently evaluate your outcomes – Evaluation involves taking a close look at your goals and objectives and determining whether you achieved your desired result. Evaluation allows you to celebrate goals that have been achieved and to discontinue or change ineffective initiatives.

Coaches' Takeaway

For your wellness program to succeed, you must have   senior level support and  a wellness team, you must collect data that will drive your initiatives, have an annual operating plan, choose appropriate health initiatives, create a supportive environment and consistently evaluate your outcomes.

Tools & Resources

CDHPCoach’s Storage Facility, where the Coach has organized and compiled a vast amount of tools and resources for you to access.


Housed here are key components and information within the book, Bend the Healthcare Trend which was the impetus behind the CDHPCoach.