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How to Measure Employee Engagement in a Well-Being Program

You’ve had a well-being program in place for a while. But are your employees as engaged as they could be? Why are some employees more engaged than others? And what are some best practices for how to measure employee engagement? In this week’s post, we dive into these questions about measuring employee engagement in a well-being program and discuss why it’s so important.

But before we begin, let’s first talk about what constitutes engagement with a health and well-being program, since it can be a little murky.

At WebMD, we say a person is engaged if they’re fully committed and intrinsically motivated to pursue their well-being goals. In other words, they have an emotional connection to improving their health.

The research on employee engagement in health and well-being uses a wide variety of definitions; there is no current consensus on either the definition or how best to measure it. For many organizations, engagement associates to program participation. This makes sense—participation is a leading indicator of engagement in health and well-being. In fact, our research shows that repeated and sustained participation over time can lead to powerful results that impact both the individual and the organization.1

So why should you measure well-being program engagement?

There are several key reasons:

  • Engagement metrics can showcase the value of the program and solidify the business case for offering it.
  • It provides a way for organizations to learn how to improve, adjust their strategy, and refine offerings based on what is working and engaging participants and what just isn’t.
  • The benefits of employee engagement in a well-being program can be felt in numerous ways, including higher retention, improved productivity, and increased morale.2

When it comes to measuring employee engagement in a well-being program there are many approaches.

To us, there’s never just one metric to track, a prescribed scorecard, or even one set of variables to analyze. Since every organization is unique, engagement measurement should reflect:

  • Your organization’s goals;
  • The type of program you offer; and
  • How mature your well-being program is.

In other words, just as well-being is personal, so, too, are the metrics you use to measure engagement.

That said, we typically recommend first looking at participation metrics to get a feel for how well a program is being utilized. If we see high levels of activity completion, then we know a well-being program is successful at getting people to participate. From there, we can explore data to further understand engagement status.

There are multiple variables we can monitor and analyze to determine if someone is truly engaged. When our analytics team dives into a client’s data, we typically look at key performance indicators, like:

  • How are people connecting with the program? Via a mobile device, tablet, or computer? In-person or by phone with a Health Coach?
  • How frequently are people interacting with the program? Do they log in once or twice or are there multiple touchpoints each week or month?
  • Are there segments of the population that are interacting with the program more or less frequently, or in a different manner? This might help you tailor certain aspects of the program to different employee groups.
  • Are people delighted with their program experience? Quick pulse checks to gauge satisfaction while a user is interacting with the various program opportunities can help here.
  • Do people keep coming back to participate in different ways? Do they try different modalities or program opportunities? – e.g., using a certain program, like Daily Habits, then setting up a meeting with a Health Coach?
  • Do we see goal attainment, behavior change, and risk change? Leveraging different data sources, like health assessments and program surveys, we can monitor program impact over time.

Some additional best practices…

Aside from gathering the statistics above, it’s also a good idea to do some qualitative engagement research through surveys and focus groups. Also, keep in mind that well-being engagement studies should be conducted at regular intervals to measure progress over time.




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