The process of evaluating employee wellbeing and sustainability programs depends on the organization and its goals.
Here are tips that can be applied in almost any situation to assure your findings meet your needs:
- Have a plan. Include program component evaluations, communication (and other process) evaluations, and overall program outcome evaluations.
- Identify metrics based on program goals. You wouldn’t, for example, spotlight biometric screening data to measure a program’s effect on culture or employee engagement.
- Rely on data. Use story and data visualization to communicate and provide insight into data.
- Benchmark against reference groups, including vendor book-of-business, national norms, and (yes) sometimes non-participants.
- Understand biases, including the powerful affect of selection bias.
- Leverage existing sources of data, such as HRAs, biometrics, safety, employee engagement surveys, EAP, HR info systems, and disability.
- Identify relationships between findings. How are physical health, productivity, employee engagement, behavioral health, and well-being strategies affecting each other?
- When using surveys, use validated instruments, when possible.
- Engage in-house experts (eg data analysts), if available.
- Require vendors and consultants to provide expert evaluation consultation.
- Take vendor self-evaluations with a grain of salt.
- Be conservative in conclusions.
- Communicate evaluation findings throughout the organization, including to participants.
- Be transparent about findings, even when they are disappointing.
- Follow participant cohorts to show change over time.
- Generally, seek to measure sustained outcomes, not just results immediately post-program.
- Understand intent-to-treat methodology, and use it if you’re trying to do a rigorous analysis of health interventions.
- Evaluation goals differ – for example, garnering program support vs. quality improvement. Establish methodology accordingly.
- If in doubt, strive to be as rigorous as possible, but don’t get bogged down in perfectionism unless you’re publishing research.
If your organization needs help with its program evaluation, contact Jozito LLC’s principal consultant, Bob Merberg, using this website’s contact form.