Analysis Identifies Wellness Program Best Practices

February 14, 2013 ( – A new report from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and Mercer found the most successful wellness program measures.

In collaboration with Mercer, the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practice Scorecard analyzed data from more than 700 employers to find which workplace health management program practices are most likely to result in improvements in medical cost trends and employee health status.

According to the report, 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; and
  • Active participation by senior leadership in wellness programs.

Though health management programs once aimed to manage chronic disease, best practices now focus on prevention through improved health habits. Seventy percent of Scorecard respondents now conduct biometric screenings to alert employees of possible health risks, and personal coaching—by telephone, online or face-to-face—has become one of the fastest-growing offerings in health management programs. The use of financial incentives to drive employee participation is rapidly increasing, and employers that use them are significantly more likely than those not offering incentives to report medical cost savings—76% compared to 46%. 

The free HERO Scorecard provides employers with an inventory of best practices for successful health management and lets them see how their program stacks up against companies of similar size and in similar industries.

More information about the HERO Scorecard 2012 Annual Report is available at


Sara Kelly