The Truth About Employee Wellness Programs and Why They Fail

Posted on

November 28th, 2017


fitness imagEmployee wellness programs have taken the workplace by storm. Seventy-nine percent of large businesses and 44 percent of mid-sized businesses offer wellness programs. However, no employer can label his or her wellness program a success without measuring its value. While it is great to implement wellness programs, employers need to ensure they are effective to reap any benefits. However, over 60 percent of those that offer such programs fail to track the return on investment (ROI).
While few large-scale studies on the value of employee wellness program exist, some small ones do. A study by the Harvard Business Review found businesses with wellness programs saw a one to two percent increase in healthcare costs compared to the national average of seven percent. Ensuring the success of employee wellness programs is possible if businesses take the following approach.

Viable Wellness Programs Are Top Down

A wellness program will fail to thrive if management at the executive level does not engage. If CEOs host and participate in quarterly health screenings, it will show their employees that they are committed to improving the health of the organization as a whole. Other examples of nurturing long-term health are offering healthy meals at meetings and stocking the vending machines with nutritious snacks. If employers want to improve their employees’ health, it must be a long-term commitment. Holding one health fair per year while continuing to stock the break room with donuts sends a mixed message and will yield poor results.

Simplify Participation

If it is hard to engage or easy to miss the notice, employees will overlook wellness programs. An employer cannot send one reminder email or post one announcement and expect employees to take notice. Employees receive dozens of emails daily and are busier than ever. Employers can utilize several methods of communication (emails, text messages, etc.), but an online portal is the most likely method to succeed. Providing a single location for updates and screening results makes engagement easy for employees.

Seek Professional Support

Wellness Programs often fall under the purview of HR departments, but most HR employees are not equipped to manage the programs. Wellness programs can be complicated and time-consuming so it is best to invest in providers and vendors who are familiar with health screenings, health coaching, and so on. Wellness experts can schedule events, help employees with enrollment, manage communication efforts, and more.
Wellness programs are growing in popularity for obvious reasons: they increase employee engagement, improve morale, address budding employee health issues before they become a significant problem, and reduce absenteeism. Improving employee health has a direct correlation to improving their attendance. This in turn improves a company’s productivity and bottom line. To learn more about how employee wellness programs affect absence management, contact the experts at Actec.