The Different Phases in Devising Metric For Businesses

Many companies around the world are now employing different strategies that will let them earn a spot as one of the most respected firms on the planet. With the help of their skilled managers or executives and the cooperation of their employees, their processes will prove to be useful and effective. One of the tools that are commonly utilized today is the metric system. This is where the business owners or the metric group choose the right indicators that will enable them to keep track of the health of their business not only on one department but in all the important areas. This is not an easy task though especially for those large companies. They have to select the metrics that really matter for them. This is why devising metric for your business is the key to achieving success for your enterprise.

You may wonder why there are companies that are not even productive even if they make use of metrics. Of course, it is not guaranteed that you will be able to accomplish your strategies and objectives. This is because metrics are not the center of all the processes of your business. However, it can provide the assistance that you need especially if you have focused a lot on the metrics planning stage. This is definitely crucial and if you do not pay attention to this phase, you will not be able to arrive at the desired results.

There are three phases that are involved in devising metric for your company. The first stage is the research process. This is where you collect all the vital information regarding the metrics that you will be using. You will find that there are numerous sources on the internet as well as on the books today that will help you in choosing the applicable metrics for your business. However, you should not entirely rely on them. You should know just what your company needs in order for you to have the metrics that you will be using. The research process should also be done internally so that you will be able to point out the areas that should be measured and those that contribute to the success of your company.

The second phase is the design process in which you will now have to collect all the information that you have gathered and organize them so that you can form the metrics for your business. This is also where you will eliminate the excess metrics that you will not be using particularly because it is not recommended that you have numerous metrics for your business. Since there are four perspectives which are financial, customer, processes and employee productivity, you will only have to include three to five metrics on each of them.

The last phase here is the verification process. You will have to integrate the items that you have on the second phase with the final decision of the metrics team. If you are able to finish devising metric successfully, the planning methodology will surely be addressed as well as the information collection and design of the business metrics.

Employer Biometrics – Worth the Cost For Health Care Cost Reduction?

As employers throughout United States are trying to stave off rising healthcare costs, there is much talk and lots of creative action to lower healthcare premiums and increase the health of our workforce. As many employers embark on a employer centric “wellness program”, often, they think that the most important first step is to encourage and provide an easy venue to gather basic biometrics… these often include, in addition to weight, BMI, and blood pressure, lipid panel and fasting cholesterol.

And it isn’t a bad idea. Getting individuals to “know their numbers” that can indicate a propensity for high risk diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. can be critical to the individual personally engaging in his or her health and taking steps to getting healthier. In addition, because these prevalent high risk diseases are creating much of the health care costs for any employer, getting employees to know their numbers is a great first step to start a wellness program. However, running tests costs money. There are many terrific biometric companies who can now bring licensed health care professionals to the workplace to run these tests for employees…making it convenient and increase the odds that employees will participate. Depending on which tests are included, these tests will generally cost between $30-$50 per person tested.

But these costs add up. If you are leading a 200 person company, you don’t have an extra $10,000 to run tests that may or may not prompt healthy action by your employees. And to boot, for those employees who are getting their annual physicals as they should, their physician is likely repeating most of the same tests…the cost of which you are also paying, either through insurance premiums or through costs passed to you if you are self-insured. Some companies are also questioning the need and wellness advancement effectiveness of running annual biometrics programs. For employers with employees under the age of 35, many advise that it is purely a waste of money to test biometrics annually. There is just not much likelihood of significant change in measurement in a younger population.

And the bigger question about effectiveness is whether taking measurement in and of itself will actually prompt any action for individuals. Most smokers know they smoke and merely having their biometrics taken and taking a health risk questionnaire will likely have no impact on causing any behavior change whatsoever. Many companies who embark on a “wellness program” by taking biometrics and using a health risk questionnaire, thinking that employees make take it from there once they have information, are merely wasting their wellness investment unless those assessments are coupled with some tool that also inspires behavior change. People simply do not change their behavior as a result of information, they need some other motivation. And note, many Health Risk Questionnaires do not REQUIRE employees to put in specific biometrics.

You can get started with digital tools by having employees complete all the lifestyle information and estimate their biometric levels. In this way, if your digital tools also include behavior change modules, your employees can get going on behavior change, the REAL outcome that the employer wants to promote in the first place, right?!

Starting this fall, there is more reason to question the potential redundancy of employers paying for a separate biometrics gathering for their employees. Under new legislation, employer health plans MUST fully cover many preventive services and tests…meaning that even co-pays for these services will be going away for employees. So, employees will be further motivated to engage in preventive physicals and testing because it is “already paid for ” in the premiums that employees are sharing. A recent article in the New York Times explained this new legislative mandate: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/health/policy/15health.html?_r=3.

So back to the question: Should you, the employer gather the biometrics of your employees? Of course, it depends! Consider the following:

1) Are you ready for the doubling up of costs because those employees who are or will likely be engaged in annual physicals that you will likely be duplicating paying for tests?
2) Are you going to DO something with the biometrics to motivate employee behavior change?
3) Are annual biometrics really necessary for a majority of your employees due to the age range of your employee population?

Remember, it IS important to consider the goals of your wellness initiative and exactly WHAT you, the employer, want to accomplish. Then, consider what the most cost-effective way is to get started to motivate your employees toward permanent healthy behavior change. Measuring health metrics is a good baseline activity, but be aware that it will add duplicate costs and it will likely require additional investment in behavior modification motivations for your employees in order to have any real effectiveness.