As wellness and chronic disease initiatives mature, employers are shifting their programs' focus from rewarding basic participation to encouraging outcomes-based goals. To move the needle on improving employees' health, savvy benefits and HR professionals are implementing member advocacy programs and other techniques to engage individuals and tailor the program to their specific needs.

The wellness program that serves Manatee County, Fla., employees, for example, features an entire staff of experts in physical and behavioral health to respond holistically to the individual's needs.

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