The HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© (HERO Scorecard) is a free online survey that was designed as an educational and benchmarking tool to help employers identify and assess their use of practices that support more effective health and well-being initiatives. Since the initial launch of the HERO Scorecard in 2006, it has undergone several enhancements to remain current with workplace health and well-being best practices. The previous U.S. version (Version 4) was developed in 2014 and had over 1,300 unique completers during the six years it was deployed.
Given the growth in knowledge and research on health and well-being best practices over the last six years, a core team of subject matter experts recommended that the Scorecard be updated to reflect these developments. This core team of industry experts identified key questions that needed to be added relating to employer involvement in the community; mental and emotional well-being; social determinants of health; integration with diversity, equity and inclusion; and a broader value proposition for investment in employee health and well-being. Even as new practices were added, the revision leveraged the results of recent research to simplify and reduce the length of the Scorecard1,2. This effort yielded a new version 5 Scorecard that is more reflective of current and emerging best practices while also being easier to complete.
While both version 4 and version 5 of the HERO Scorecard include six sections (Strategic Planning, Organization and Cultural Support, Program Integration, Programs, Participation Strategies, and Measurement and Evaluation), version 5 will have only 67 questions (51 scored questions) compared to 86 questions (59 scored questions) in version 4. Questions were added and removed from sections based on current research. Specifically, version 5 added questions to the following sections: Strategic Planning (from 7 to 8 questions), Organization and Cultural Support (from 8 to 15), and Measurement and Evaluation (from 4 to 6), while questions were removed or consolidated in the sections on Program Integration (from 6 to 5), Programs (from 14 to 8), and Participation Strategies (from 19 to 9).
In addition, the scoring of version 5 was updated based on analyses of version 4 data. While the total overall points of the HERO Scorecard remained the same at 200, the points designated by section shifted to align with a factor analysis performed in a recent HERO Scorecard study, which was published in the January 2020 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine1. The factor analysis revealed the relative strength of the various best practices in predicting participation in health assessments, health risk improvements, medical cost reduction and employees’ perception of organizational support. Specifically, points shifted towards Strategic Planning (from 20 to 50 pts) and Organization and Cultural Support (from 50 to 60 pts) and away from Programs (from 40 to 20 pts) and Participation Strategies (from 50 to 30 pts). The points for Program Integration (from 16 to 20 pts) and Measurement and Evaluation (from 24 to 20 pts) remained fairly consistent.
Further, when scoring individual questions, a capping method was used for questions that reviewers believed would penalize smaller employers. For questions that use this method, full points will be received when an organization indicates that a preselected number of practices in the responses to the question are being implemented. For example, a maximum score of 6 points is awarded to organizations that indicate using any 4+ social strategies to encourage participation in health and well-being programs. This capping method was used for scoring some questions in version 4 but was expanded to a greater number of questions for version 5.
The HERO Scorecard is also used as a research instrument and includes optional questions on outcomes that can be used for benchmarking and to study relationships between specific practices and outcomes. In previous versions of the HERO Scorecard, these optional questions were placed at the end of the survey. In an attempt to increase responses to these optional outcomes questions, several questions with low response rates were removed. Additionally, the outcome questions still included in version 5 remain optional and unscored but are now embedded into the scored sections of the HERO Scorecard. The majority of these optional outcome questions are now found in the Participation Strategies and Measurement and Evaluation sections.
The goal of this revision effort was to develop a more user-friendly and less burdensome assessment tool that is more representative of contemporary health and well-being initiatives and the latest research on best practices. Organizations are encouraged to complete version 5 of the HERO Scorecard to increase their awareness of the latest expert recommendations for taking their health and well-being initiatives to the next level, identify new strategies for increasing program performance, and identify new ways to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts. Further, by participating in version 5, organizations will be contributing to the development of new benchmarks that can help them understand how their organizations compare to similar employers.
HERO would like to thank and acknowledge the following HERO Scorecard commentary reviewers: David Anderson (VisioNEXT, LLC), Kerry Evers (Pro-Change Behavior Systems), Stefan Gingerich (StayWell/WebMD Health Services), Mary Imboden (HERO), and Steven Noeldner (Mercer).
1Imboden M, Castle PH, Johnson SS, Rahrig-Jenkins K, Pitts JS, Grossmeier J, Mangen DJ, Mason S, Noeldner SP. Development and validity of a workplace health promotion best practices assessment. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2020;62(1):18-24.
2Grossmeier J, Castle PH, Pitts JS, Saringer C, Jenkins KR, Imboden MT, Mangen DJ, Johnson SS, Noeldner SP, Mason ST. Workplace well-being factors that predict employee participation, health and medical cost impact, and perceived support. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2020;34(4):349-358.