There’s a very unfortunate truth that most employers in the USA now have company wellness programs, but most are not achieving measurable results. According to a recent HERO survey, only 20% of senior leaders see the strong connection between employee health and business performance, which results in minimal support with a minimal budget. So, what’s a forward-thinking HR manager who knows an effective employee health wellness program is needed supposed to do? 

At Corporate Health Partners, we can provide the guidance your organization has been looking for. 

The Onion Patch Strategy 

This question brings to mind a strategy that Corporate Health Partners used with great success from a very rewarding stint in Total Quality Management (TQM) years ago. The strategy was described by Peter Scholtes and co-authors in The Team Handbook as the Onion Patch Strategy

What do you do if no one will listen, if you’re having trouble getting the attention up high, and you’re feeling like the “lonely little petunia in an onion patch?”

  • Think big but stay close to your roots.
  • Select change efforts within your control.
  • Make sure they will capture the attention of people at least two lengths up the chain of command.
  • Look for opportunities with big dollar implications…
  • Focus on getting results that others, including skeptics, will respect.
  • Involve fellow employees in your efforts, sharing credit for a successful job.
  • Slowly build a network of supporters.
  • Be patient. Be persistent.
  • When someone expresses interest, be prepared to provide more information and detail about the implications.
  • Identify the most common questions or objections and have the answers at hand.
  • Communicate success stories. 

How the Onion Patch Strategy Patch Strategy Promotes Employee Health and Wellness

We believe the onion patch strategy works to promote employee health and wellness in two areas that are ripe with opportunity. 

The first opportunity is tobacco cessation. Our company noticed that many CEOs that have no interest in worksite wellness don’t hesitate to implement a tobacco surcharge on the employee health plan. Some don’t even realize that a tobacco surcharge is recognized as an outcomes-based wellness program and must therefore have a reasonable alternative standard that is reasonably designed to improve employee health – in this case, help employees kick the habit. Since there MUST be a health improvement program, at least for the tobacco users, there is an opportunity to implement a program that gets results. And it can be built upon according to the Onion Patch Strategy. 

The second opportunity is weight management. Like tobacco use, you don’t have to use a Health Risk Assessment to see the prevalence of the problem. Furthermore, obesity eclipsed tobacco use in annual cost to health plans several years ago. It’s not hard to find employees who want help working on this issue, so a weight management class can be provided at a very affordable cost. 

Both programs can be used in onion patch fashion to generate employee interest, results, success stories, and leadership support to start building a comprehensive and systematic company wellness program that effectively manages the whole spectrum of health risks. 

Help Your Workforce Make Healthy Choices with Our Employee Health and Wellness Programs

Tobacco cessation and weight management are just two of the onion patch programs that are offered by Corporate Health Partners to aid organizations in improving employee health and wellbeing. By helping your workforce establish healthier habits, you will enhance employee engagement and increase your savings!

Contact us to learn additional information about the benefits of our company wellness programs.

About the author

Jack Curtis

Jack Curtis is Founder and CEO of Corporate Health Partners (2002) and Co-Founder and CEO of Engagement Health Group (2022). With an ongoing commitment to making a difference in corporate health and well-being, Jack enjoys his long-term membership and Leadership Committee chair position at an industry Think Tank of thought leaders within employee health management, called Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO).

Engagement Health Group