COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- It's common knowledge that a healthier workforce means happier, more productive employees, so the boom in Wellness Programs over the past ten years is no surprise. What is shocking, however, is how many Wellness Programs fail to have the impact that is so often promised. A Rand study on Wellness programs found that the average annual
Wellness Programs Focus on the Already Healthy
Many wellness program incentives are geared to those who are already healthy. They include incentives such as gym memberships and health premium reductions for certain biometrics. For those employees who know they have health challenges, the focus on a single set of numbers or going to a gym is discouraging. People struggling with their weight frequently feel self-conscious going to a gym, and a person already struggling with their cholesterol numbers is going to find certain biometrics unattainable. Instead, a plan should focus on where the person is, not simply where the plan wants them to be. A plan that provides incentives for logging food intake will allow the employees with weight-control issues to take steps to improve their health without making them feel like they are "exposed" as they would at a gym. The details about reasonable accommodations for people with medical conditions shouldn't be relegated to the small print. It should be a point of pride that the wellness program is for everybody.
Wellness Programs Focus on the Results, Not Progress
In order to have the most impact, the target audience for a wellness program should be individuals with chronic conditions. The impact of an obese individual lowering their BMI by two points is much greater than a healthy-weight individual doing the same. But too many wellness programs only touch in with the participants once or twice per year resulting in a focus on the end result, not the progress someone has made. Many of the individuals with chronic conditions are struggling with a lifetime of medical challenges or bad habits. In order to help them move forward in the right direction, it takes frequent touches so that they feel that their progress is being recognized.
Wellness Programs Are Set on Repeat
There's an adage that says, "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results." By this measure, most wellness programs are insane. They are set on a never-ending cycle: January is Weight Loss month, February is Heart Health month, and on and on. The same focus and the same tools for every group, year in and year out results in a stale program that doesn't excite engagement and may not even be relevant to employees. A wellness program should be dynamic, responding to the interests and needs of the individual, not the calendar.
Wellness Programs Don't Have a Relationship Factor
Many wellness programs today rely on on-line applications, videos and phone calls. These can be excellent support tools, but they cannot take the place of a face-to-face health coach. Psychologists and neurologists concur that there is no substitute for in-person interactions. By having the individual meet one-on-one with the same person on a regular basis, they form a relationship with that individual. A level of comfort and trust that cannot be obtained digitally is formed. The individual feels more accountable for their choices and is more likely to stick with the program so that they don't let their coach down. By only using impersonal tools, a wellness plan is not harnessing the power of human relationships.
OPOC.us is a collaboration of top industry Strategic Planners in the areas of Culture Success, Healthcare and Employee Benefits, Retirement Plan Administration, Risk Management, Business Process Improvement, HRIS Technology, Recruiting, and Branding specializing in the delivery of FORTUNE 500 "One-Point-of-CARE" solutions for mid-sized organizations.
Adam Sommer, Development AnalystPhone: 866-676-2871
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