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The 7 Personas That Can Destroy Your Wellness Program - Transcript

We have a straightforward agenda for today. We want to tell you a little bit about ourselves, then go right into explaining what a who are the 7 Personas that Can Destroy Your Wellness Program. If you're like most wellness leaders, you have to get your program design and budget approved by leaders in HR, and leaders of the overall organization. These 7 Personas are the ones that are standing in your way - making it hard to get approval for the things you really need to do. And if they get their way, it will destroy your wellness program. We'll talk about these 7 Personas, and how to answer their objections and get approval for the wellness program and budget you need. We'll continue with a short demonstration of how you can neutralize the 7 Personas by meeting their needs for information security and provable results. This is not a full demo of our system - but if you're interested in anything you see today, we'd be happy to follow up with you. My contact info is shown. After the demonstration, we'll take questions and wrap up - and I'll give you some options for next steps in managing the 7 Personas.

Extracon is a wellness platform company - giving our employer clients the tools and strategies to run better employee health programs.

Our online, social and mobile platform has been proven at employers large and small across the USA for more than 5 years. Our client list includes Fortune 500 companies, major hospitals, and health insurance plans. But it also includes a lot of employers in the 200 to 2000 range who are increasingly relying on us for everything from health assessments, to individual and team programs, and through to incentives. Our platform supports both participation and outcomes-based incentives - and we offer real-time incentives that are unique in the industry.

So who are the 7 Personas, and how will they destroy your wellness program? If you're like most wellness leaders, you have an annual process to get approval for your wellness program design and budget. You have to get approval from a senior leader and answer objections from a whole host of players within Human Resources, Benefits, Finance, and Operations. In most companies, it's not just about getting your boss on board with the plan. You have to neutralize the naysayers across the leadership of the whole organization - many of whom have very little contact with or understanding of your program. But that's how organizations work. Your boss can't give you an enthusiastic YES until you neutralize a lot of un-informed NO's. The 7 personas are: the Free Lunch, Chicken Little, Just Write a Check, Next Year, The Cheater, Mr. Magoo, and the Paper Process. Let's get started with #1.

I think we've all seen this person in our meetings. The Free Lunch is the person who says you can do whatever you want with your wellness program - as long as it's free. They're defending the company budget. But they are not seeing a lot of hidden costs. For example, they see your time as the wellness leader - as completely free. Your time is not considered valuable. And they see anything that's included with other expenses - like the health plan - as free. They are also missing the biggest hidden cost of all - if health costs keep rising at 10 or 15% a year, that's very, very expensive. The Free Lunch has a deeper motivation, below the surface. The deeper motivation for the Free Lunch is that they think your program is just a perk. Just a cost to be minimized. They don't think results or savings are really possible. So they are doing a cost/benefit calculation, and if there's no benefit then the program has to be free. If the Free Lunch gets his way, I think we all know what your program will look like. You'll spend a huge amount of time manually creating content like posters, flyers and emails. You'll spend a huge amount of time manually keeping track of data in Excel spreadsheets. And you'll spend a lot of time trying to put the disconnected Free pieces together into a coherent program. And you won't have any time left to drive a more effective program. The good news is that you can neutralize the Free Lunch. First, you have to make all those invisible costs visible. Let's start with your time. Your time has value - and you should put a dollar value on the hours you are spending on things that could be automated. If you're spending $20,000 worth of time manually running a series of Challenge Programs - now you've got a number you can compare that to the cost of vendor programs. If you're spending $10,000 worth of time creating content, how does that compare to licensing a platform that already had the content you need? If you're spending half your time manually keeping track of data in Excel and email, how does that compare to the cost of a platform that handles the data for you? In addition to making the invisible costs visible, you will need to make a persuasive case that the organization is getting something out of its investment in wellness. Remember, that's the hidden assumption of the Free Lunch. We will talk more about results on the next slide.

One of my favorite personas is the Chicken Little. This is the person who sees your program as a risk rather than an opportunity. In fact, they see legal and compliance risks everywhere in your program. The worst part is, anything that really drives results - like getting real numbers on biometrics and putting real dollars on improving them - brings out the worst in Chicken Little. And you know what it looks like if Chicken Little gets his way. It will destroy your chance for an effective wellness program. You will be limited to doing lunch & learns, fitness classes, and giving out a few t-shirts to participants. You'll be doing wellness lite, and you won't have any results to show. Chicken Little often works together with the Free Lunch because the same programs that look like a Free Lunch also look good to Chicken Little. You'll remember on the last slide we talked about how the Free Lunch is looking at cost versus benefit. Chicken Little is looking at something similar. Chicken little is looking at Risk vs Reward. He doesn't believe your wellness program can really make employees healthy and productive, so why take any risks? So how do we neutralize Chicken Little? First, we need to show that participants' health information is being safegaurded correctly in compliance with HIPAA. That means you have to show strong information security capabilities and practices. Data needs to be kept on a secure server - not on laptops and thumbdrives. Access needs to be limited to the right personnel at the employer - and some employers may only want to see aggregate data. Second, you need to show that your program design has built-in legal compliance. So any incentive has the right kinds of reasonable alternatives. If an employee can't participate or earn an incentive due to a medical condition, you need the right language in your communications and the right procedures in place. During the demonstration, we'll show how an online wellness platform can simplify and automate these tasks for you. The second key to neutralizing Chicken Little is the same as it is for the Free Lunch. If you can make a compelling case for your program's results, and how your program is mission-critical for the organization to succeed - all of a sudden the rewards are there to balance the risks. What's a compelling case? You can't just talk about participation or improved morale. You can't even talk about employee engagement. To get Chicken Littles and Free Lunches on board, you have to talk about improved biometrics. You have to show that your programs are reducing the number of people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high gluose and A1C, and high BMI. You have to connect the dots, showing that your participants improved their numbers - and that their improvements lasted over time. You need a set of numbers that let you connect those dots and show solid results.

The third Persona we're going to discuss is the one that says, Just Write a Check. They think employee health is just something you can outsource. Find a vendor, write a check, and healthy employees will happen. No work or commitment needed from the employer side. Just Write a Check often has another motivation as well. He doesn't want to make health a priority in the organization or in his own life. He doesn't want to walk the talk. So how will this persona destroy your wellness program? The simple truth is that wellness programs don't work when the organization doesn't make them a priority. Let me talk about the research. I hope most of you are familiar with the HERO - the Health Enhancement Research Organization. Extracon has been a member of their Think Tank. HERO has a research-based Scorecard, now in it's 4th edition with hundreds of companies answering questions about their wellness program's structure and results. One of the key findings from the HERO Scorecard is that senior leadership buy-in, a set of internal wellness champions, and commitment and support at all levels of the organization are incredibly important in producing results. Programs where a vendor is running everything from the outside just don't produce the same results. So if we let the Just Write a Check guy win, you will wind up with a program where a vendor is fighting an uphill battle to roll out programs against a resistant employer culture. And it will destroy your wellness program. So how do your neutralize this Persona? Your first step is show the link between organizational commitment and wellness program outcomes. Companies that live a healthy culture have better results than companies that turn everything over a vendor. Then, you need practical ways to start changing the culture toward health. Your program needs to offer ways for senior leaders and line managers to lead by example. It needs to make health visible and social at the worksite. In the demo, we'll show you some ways our clients use the wellness programs included with our platform to change the culture.

The fourth persona is one I call “Next Year”. You have big plans for your wellness program, and they will need more dollars and buy-in. And this persona is the one who says…. This year's budget is tight. This year we have a lot of other initiatives. Maybe Next Year. See, the grass is always greener - next year. There's no hidden agenda - they really believe their own story. But if you let this person win, it can destroy your wellness program. Because the budget will be tight next year, too. The company will have a lot of initiatives next year, too. The grass will always be greener - next year. If you let this person win, you will never get the program design and budget you need to be successful. You will always be stuck with a program that doesn't work - and after two or three years it will be pretty hard to explain why you're leading this program that doesn't produce results. So how can we neutralize this persona? Your #1 argument here is that if health costs are going up every year, then waiting a year is a lot more expensive than acting now. What would a 5%, 10% or 15% increase in health claims cost across your organization? It's probably a lot more than the budget you're asking for. In many organizations the wellness leader is losing the battle for $50,000 of additional budget, when the health plan cost is on track to go up by $500,000 the next year. Doing nothing is the same thing as increasing the budget for health claims next year, and the year after, and the year after that. The do-nothing strategy is very, very expensive! You're the next step is to get buy-in for a 3 year plan. It can be pretty painless for year 1 - as long as you get the commitments you need for Year 2 and Year 3. If you can get those expectations agreed to today, it will be harder for them to give you the “grass is greener” argument next year. But if you want to do this, you'll need a flexible platform that lets your program expand over time. Right? You need a seamless way to move up from a participation program, to a program with biometrics, to a program with outcome-based-incentives. When we get to the demo, we will show how Extracon helps our clients do that.

Number 5 in the list of 7 Personas is the Cheater. This is the person who is a little bit obsessed with ways employees can cheat in order to earn an incentive. So if you're proposing any kind of incentive on a self-report basis - watch out. The want every data point validated. And that's actually OK with us. But they often ask you to implement some really expensive ways of getting validated data - like buying a $100 uploading pedometer for everyone in the company. Or a bunch of $5,000 onsite kiosks to measure weight and blood pressure. Or expects you to take thousands of datapoints there at the wellness office onsite. For most of our programs, it's pretty clear that there isn't enough budget for these expensive solutions or enough hours in the day for you to collect all the data yourself. So then the Cheater usually says there's no point in using incentives at all. And then you're back to square 1. And this kind of thinking can really destroy your wellness program. If this person gets their way, you might be stuck doing wellness lite - without any incentive programs at all. Or you might spend all your time and budget on expensive hardware that gets lost or broken. If you want to neutralize the Cheater, you have to show some better ways of collecting validated data into your program. So you need to collect in-person biometrics every year, and bring those results into your database for comparison with program and incentive data. But you also need to accept uploads from devices for tracking activity, weight, and blood pressure. Devices like FitBits & iHealth. And you need ways for participants to self-report their data along with uploads, scans or photos that prove the data is accurate. For example, having iPhone and Android apps that use the phone's camera to take a picture of a lab report, or a home blood pressure cuff. We'll discuss some of these during the demonstration. If you have a variety of EASY ways to get validated data all through the year, you can neutralize the Cheater.

Mr. Magoo is focused in on one thing -and he misses the big picture. In employee health, our Mr. Magoo's are looking at this year's health claims data - and focusing in on those 5% or 1% of your employees who are high-cost. The people who've been to the hospital this year, or had more than one trip to the Emergency Room. Mr. Magoo looks at those numbers and says - aha! There's your problem. Let's focus all our time and attention on those people. This can really destroy your wellness program. Mainly because it ignores the other 95% - the people who will drive next year's health costs. Because it's not the same people year after year who are high cost. It's different people. You need a leading indicator to show who will be high cost in the future. Mr. Magoo, on the other hand is using cost data - which lags behind and only shows you a problem after it's occurred. Steering your health program using claims data is a little like driving by looking in the rear-view mirror. So how can you neutralize Mr. Magoo and work on keeping your WHOLE population healthy? First, you need to start using leading indicators instead of lagging indicators. That means you're driving by looking ahead - not by looking in the rearview mirror. What are those leading indicators? There's a wealth of research, from HERO, from Dee Edington's group at the University of Michigan, and others - to show that health risks like high blood pressure, high BMI and high blood glucose are the way to predict future health costs. They are the leading indicators. You have to present your program and results in terms of reducing health risks across the whole population. Then, you will need to put together the data to show you're reducing health risks across the whole population - linking last year's biometrics, through this year's programs, to this year's biometrics. Then you'll have results that are compelling enough for even Mr. Magoo to see.

The last of the 7 Personas I will call Paper Process. There's one of these in every organization. Someone who wants a paper health assessment. A paper version of all communications. A paper version of every tracking program. A place for employees to put a stamp on every form and mail it in. And this will destroy your wellness program. Because you'll have to dumb down the program in order to make a paper version work. You'll have to take out everything that's engaging, social and mobile. And the time you spend creating paper versions and managing paper data will keep you from making your program all it can be. But the times are changing. And here are some signs. I was in the DMV the other day. The only way to get your license renewed in Tennessee is to use an iPad station where you use the touchscreen, and the iPad takes your picture and sends it to the printer for the license. If the DMV can do it, why can't we in healthcare? My bank lets me deposit checks via mobile phone app. So I open the app, take a picture of the check, and the bank trusts that enough to put real dollars into my checking account. It that's good enough for major banks across the US, why isn't it good enough for us in healthcare? So let's talk about how you neutralize the Paper Process. You need to make your program accessible to all employees. Let's start out with the 70%+ of working adults who now have an iPhone or Android phone. Your program needs to run on those phone. Then, your program needs to run from any computer with an internet browser - at home, at work, or at the public library. Between the smartphone and the home internet, you will reach 90%+ of the population. Adding in the library - you'll reach almost 100%. And you can do what the DMV does to reach the rest. Install a low-cost kiosk - basically an iPad in a cubicle - to take the excuses away and offer an option for all.

So that's the 7 Personas. If you want to neutralize them, you need to show these 6 things. First, you need to show impeccable information security and compliance- or the Chicken Littles will stop you in your tracks. Second, you need validated data for your programs all year long - a way to show the Cheater that people are telling the truth. Third, you need to show your program is accessible to all employees. So you need ways to access it from any computer and any device - or else you'll have to go back to paper. Fourth, the program needs to grow with you. In the 3-year plan you're putting in front of Mr. Next Year, you need the ability to grow from a participation program, to a program with biometrics, to a program with results-based incentives. Finally, you need ways to change the culture and defeat the “Just Write A Check” personas. Finally, you need to show outcomes and results. If you can show real health results, you can undercut all kinds of objections - including the Free Lunch, the Chicken Little, and many others. So we're going to take a brief tour through the Extracon platform, and show how our systems helps our customers do all of these things. Let's get started.

(Demo of Extracon website)

Summary: You want a Wellness Program that Works. There are 7 Personas who are standing in the way at most organizations. You can structure your program to meet their objections - and our technology can help. Focus on producing the best results - a big enough “pro” can outweigh all the “cons”.


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