In a world where instant gratification and customization are a way of life, workplace wellness programs haven’t kept pace.

“Whether we like it or not, that [customization and instant gratification] is today’s era,” said Scott Haverlock, senior manager, talent & total rewards with Niagara Bottling, Inc. and a keynote speaker at this year’s Benefits Forum & Expo, being held this week in Boca Raton, Fla. “So I ask you: Why are we still stuck in neutral in the benefits innovation space? Generally speaking, I find myself discouraged by my benefits peers and vendors I talk to.”

Haverlock told conference attendees that after he left Caesars Entertainment in 2005 to work for a smaller company, he implemented a wellness program at that new company. The program comprised biometric screenings, health risk assessments, telephonic coaching based on the results of the screening and HRA, and participation-based incentives. In 2014, very little has changed – those components still make up the base for many wellness programs, he said. “Not much changed in eight years,” he said. “One size does not fit all.”

Also see: Benefits education, communication paramount during the coming year

Benefit managers have a duty to make “raving fans” of employees, Haverlock said, and cited five guiding principles he’s developed over the course of his career.

1. Time + tools + respect = success. This is Haverlock’s formula for delivering bad news. When one of the blue-collar companies Haverlock used to work for decided to make its campus tobacco-free, the company gave workers nine months’ notice of the change, tools such as free prescription drugs for smoking cessation and free telephonic coaching. And the company’s messaging throughout the transition was respectful. And because of the time, tools and respect given, the move was “a nonevent,” said Haverlock.

2. BJ Fogg’s motivational formula. Fogg is a social scientist and teacher who runs Stanford’s Persuasive Technolgy Lab, which focuses on methods for creating habits, showing what causes behavior, automating behavior change and persuading people via mobile phones. “Basically, he says ‘if you are going to spur engagement, you need to either increase desire or increase ability,’” said Haverlock. “This motivates a lot of what I do.”

3. Simplify. “Bright, smart over-achievers who run benefit departments [can] over-engineer things every day,” said Haverlock. “We’re too smart for our own good sometimes. Simplify it.”

4. Create win-wins. In a previous role, Haverlock implemented a telehealth program. “We were able to save our employees time and money by telephonically or via video receiving the care they needed at virtually no cost for simple sick-type services,” he said. “The business won because instead of an employee leaving two hours early to go to the doctor, they were working their entire shift.” ER visits also plummeted as the company heavily marketed the telehealth program.

5. Buck conventional wisdom. “Swim upstream. Cut against the grain. If people laugh at an idea, be curious,” said Haverlock. When he was at Caesars’ in Las Vegas, for example, the company decided to pay for employees’ weight loss surgery. And not only did the company pay for the surgery, it actively promoted the benefit through flyers and posters and information sessions. “We didn’t just cover it and hope no one touched it. We showcased it; we put a spotlight on it,” he said. “We really thought that for the right candidates, who went to the right centers of excellence, with the right upfront controls and support tools, that we could have a winner. And we did.”

6. Know your business. When he first joined Niagara Bottling – even before meeting his direct reports – Haverlock spent seven days in various company factories to understand the backbone of the organization. Eighty percent of the company’s employees are factory workers. “Truly know your business if you’re going to create solutions that fit,” he said.

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