In the first two articles we looked at the basics of a Health & Productivity Management (H&PM) program, as well as the advantages associated with using one. In this, the third and final article in the series, we're going to explore how a company can implement such a program. The way in which we'll approach this analysis is from the standpoint of size. In other words, how both larger companies and smaller companies should implement their programs for the purpose of maximizing their efforts.
Blueprint for larger companies
Bigger companies with thousands of employees face more challenges than smaller companies, in large part because of their size. As you recall, the effectiveness of Health & Productivity Management is tied directly to its emphasis on integration throughout the system. The bigger a company is, the less integration there is, for a couple of reasons.
First, employees are more likely to be scattered throughout the country (or around the world) at various locations. Second, the different departments within a larger company tend to work more independently of each other than they do in a smaller company. As a result, the company is less efficient-and subsequently, less effective-in the area of employee health and productivity.
The keys for the implementation of any program are consistent and explicit communication and set expectations, and this is especially true in the case of large companies. With that in mind, below are important steps that must be undertaken if an H&PM program is to succeed.
1. Secure specific details from senior members of management regarding what they expect the program to achieve. The more detailed, the better.
2. Identify a team of 10 or more people-including a leader-to create and then carry out the program's overall vision and individual objectives. This might include the use of an outside consultant.
3. Determine which members of the group will be responsible for which tasks. Make sure those roles and tasks are properly communicated.
4. Decide when and where integration and interventions will be utilized. (Refer to the first article in this series for more information about these aspects of the program.)
5. Devise a preliminary draft of the program's plan, including the evaluation process, for whatever span of time has been approved for the initiative. Three to five years is the norm.
6. Use feedback from senior members of management and stakeholders to modify the plan and present it for final approval.
7. Begin implementation of the H&PM program, making adjustments when necessary.
Blueprint for small to medium-sized companies
As you might imagine, the blueprint for smaller companies is, well, smaller than it is for larger companies.
However, the core directives and procedures remain basically the same, especially in regards to consistent communication and set expectations. These are crucial to ensuring success with any Health & Productivity Management program.
Rather than list how the blueprint for small and medium-sized companies is the same as for larger ones, it will be easier to list how they are different:
1.The plan is shorter and simpler in scope and ambition.
2. The group of people comprising the implementation team is smaller, as well, perhaps consisting of four to six people as opposed to 10 or more for larger companies.
3. The span of time approved for the initiative is usually shorter, no more than three years in most cases.
4. If the company is too small to conduct proper integration and interventions, these tasks are outsourced to a separate vendor.
Attention to detail
For a Health & Productivity Management program to be successful, its implementation cannot be haphazard or neglected in any way. In addition to consistent communication and set expectations throughout the process, attention to detail is also of paramount importance, especially during the evaluation phase. Remember, an H&PM program is not unlike any other business initiative - it's designed to save the company both time and money and help it become more productive and profitable. If it's not accomplishing these goals, then it's ultimately not effective.
Something else to remember is that an H&PM program is a little like a fingerprint. No two programs are exactly alike. What works for one company might not work for another. However, if done correctly, the creation and implementation of such a program can hold the key to combating the challenges presented by current economic conditions and the state of healthcare in the years to come.
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