When reporting data, you must ensure your conclusions are justified. This involves agreeing upon standards of success (and failure), the method(s) of analysis or synthesis that will be used and how results will be interpreted, as well as what judgments and recommendations will be included in the final report.1,3 To ensure the evaluation will be used to take action:
- Design the evaluation with its final use in mind;
- Prepare for use (for example, by giving stakeholders hypothetical results and asking what changes they would make);
- Obtain feedback from stakeholders throughout the process;
- Follow up with users to prevent misuse; and
- Tailor dissemination materials to the intended audience.1
When creating a report or other dissemination materials, use clear, concise language and organize the information so that readers can easily understand how each conclusion was reached.7 Use tables, graphs and figures to demonstrate trends and make projections, and to provide a quick takeaway for readers in a hurry.6,7 Finally, you should organize the report around the needs of its intended audience. Different individuals may need different information: for example, leadership may want to know about leading risks and healthcare costs, while the wellness staff may want to know about employee needs and barriers.7 Thus, it may be necessary to release multiple reports tailored to specific stakeholders.
One of the key reasons to develop an evaluation plan before starting the program is to collect baseline data that you can use to measure changes by comparing the baseline to post-program results.2 You may also want to measure the value of the company’s investment in the program using either ROI or VOI analysis. An ROI analysis examines how much is saved or earned for every dollar invested in the program, thus it usually examines tangible benefits like reduced medical costs or increased productivity.7,8 Because ROI analysis focuses on tangible benefits, some benefits of health programs are not captured. VOI calculations allow intangible benefits, like morale, loyalty, retention and company image to be taken into account.7-9 You must decide which analysis works best for your program and aligns with the desires of leadership.