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How To Set Wellness Program Goals and Objectives

How To Set Wellness Program Goals and Objectives Propel

A wellness program with perfect goals and objectives rarely exists. However, implementing a wellness program with a cohesive plan, leadership support, and clear objectives will increase a program's likelihood for success from the start.

Each colleague in your organization will process change differently and it will be your job to determine what the common successes of the past were before starting a new program.

Every company's culture is a direct outcome of past decisions and actions. When building a cohesive plan for successful wellness program goals it is critical to understand the history of your organization. Additionally, utilizing managerial support will allow your wellness program goals to be promoted and cascaded across the entire workforce. Remember, there is power in numbers. Mobilizing a team will contribute to more widespread engagement.

Finally, you will need to have clear and defined objectives for your wellness program goals. Sharing a clear vision for what success looks like and how it can be measured will increase employee buy in to what you are trying to accomplish.

These three steps will get you moving towards relevant and impactful wellness program goals and objectives.

1. Use the past to plan for the future

The first step in the process of creating a successful wellness program goals is to understand what has worked well in the past and (equally important) what did not work well. Reflecting on past successes and failures can be used as a road map to steer decision making in the creation of a wellness program. Be sure to align goals and objectives to best suit the colleagues of your organization based upon what you've learned.

Identify three company initiatives. Determine the pros and cons.

Start with small steps...

  • Identify three past company initiatives that you felt were successful.
  • List the most successful and unsuccessful aspects of each of these three initiatives.
  • What are the commonalities among the successes and failures of these three programs?


2. Mobilize a team for widespread engagement

Receiving feedback is the second step to building a successful wellness program goals. Your organization will need to create a process to collect and organize feedback. Be attentive to the colleagues that have participated in past programs listening to their praises and criticisms intently. Seek out a diverse cross section of influential colleagues that can act as promoters. Building a wellness champion network is incredibly valuable in the mobilization and championing of a program. Remember, it is colleague engagement that is essential to participation in any program. It is critical to communicate a compelling vision that appeals to the wants and needs of employees.


  • Take the three initiatives analyzed from Step 1 to a diverse cross section of colleagues for their feedback of successes and areas for improvement.
  • Ask these colleagues if there is anything missing or that something that could be added to improve a wellness program.
  • Commit to continually connecting with these colleagues throughout the process. This will not only help maintain your accountability to their feedback it also creates a team ownership of program's success.


3. Define your wellness program

Initiatives that have leadership support and colleague buy in with objectives and goals that align with your organization's needs will be significantly more likely to succeed than those that don't.

Start with "why"

Why are you starting this wellness program? Is this a program to offer additional benefits to employees? Do you hope to lower risk factors for disease among your population? Are you integrating another perk that will help employee retention and recruit new employees? Determine why you began this journey in the first place, whether that was 10 years ago or yesterday.

Define key objectives

Are you trying to create an outcomes based program or an engagement based program? Outcome based programs use metrics like the total number of pounds lost in a weight loss challenge. Alternatively, an engagement based program uses participation data to define success. Based on your "why", decide what makes the most sense. Tip: Choose metrics that fit your organization. Make sure everything is done with your people in mind.

Based on your goals, decide what behaviors you want to motivate

What do you want people to do? Are you looking to see people lower their blood pressure? Do you want to raise the levels of awareness about certain chronic diseases? How about helping your employees to use appropriate stress reduction tactics when overwhelmed at work?

Your program can have many facets and focus on a variety of behaviors. Make a list of every behavior you would like to motivate, then rank them. Label the top 3 - 5 as your core behaviors. These core behaviors will help you create the right programming and define success.

Apply your key objectives to your behaviors

Take what you have come up with so far and put it all together.

An outcomes based example to increase colleague physical activity would be a step challenge where participants will have to reach a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. An engagement based approach for the same example would be focused on a high total number of active participants registered for the challenge, regardless of meeting the goal.

Prepare and share your goals from the start

Make sure you are prepared with your new goals before you begin your program or initiative. Additionally, we recommend sharing these goals with participants up front. An example of this would be sharing with participants an organizational goal to have 70% of colleagues registered for an event or activity and add this to the goals of the participant. Your employees will begin to adopt this organizational goal as their own and be internally motivated to reach it. Clearly stating a goal from the start and throughout a program will be important to your success.

Celebrate and promote out colleague successes throughout the program experience

Providing participant testimonials and milestones while engaged in the wellness program will generate goodwill and anticipation for future challenges and initiatives.

Jeff Cochran

About the author

Jeff Cochran

Jeff is an Account Executive with Propel. With 14 years of Health Care experience, he has been responsible for managing the Client Strategy & Execution for large employer and governmental clients.

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