How to Mitigate The Negatives of Corporate Wellness

While over 70% of U.S. companies offer corporate wellness programs, there can be detractors and failures.

1. None Of This Interests Me Like It Interests The Company

Some benefit plans skew greatly towards cutting medical costs but not towards the true wellness plan goal: making employees happier and healthier. If the main idea is saving money on insurance while compelling employees to complete health assessments, lose weight, monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol and eat like rabbits, there’s no long-term wellness benefit because there is no care and concern beyond mere numbers.

2. You Can’t Pay Me Do Any Of That

Financial incentives of cash or gift cards motivate employees’ short-term participation in wellness programs. So instead of investing in programs, the money feeds the reward needs of those least likely to retain long-term benefits. When the incentives edn, these individuals drift back to their old habits.

3. Punishment Is For Kids

Negative incentives, such as the threat of paying higher insurance premiums for not participating, is not the motivational message that stirs staff to action. It may motivate them to take their knowledge and talent to another company.

4. The 80/20 Rule Rules

Known as the Pareto Principle, it applies to health care’s cost factor: about 80% of employees drive 20% of healthcare costs. These individuals are the ones less likely to need or want a wellness program; they’re already active, healthy andknowledgeable about their lifestyle options. It’s easier to focus wellness plans for those cooperative employees while ignoring the 1% costing the most in healthcare spending who need the most help.

5. It’s Because I’m Fat (Or I Smoke, Or I Don’t Exercise), Right?

Wellness programs promote across-the-board, long-term lifestyle changes and creating new habits to supplant old ones gradually. Losing a few pounds or patching up to quit smoking for a few weeks isn’t a lifetime commitment if the habits leading to an unhealthy lifestyle creep right back.

6. You’re Telling Me, Not Asking Me

Employee input is vital to the wellness program’s success. Use written surveys and focus groups and discover what staff want. Managers may love a gym, sauna and organic food-only cafeteria, while employees favor paid time off to compete in running or triathlon events, sessions with a nutritionist, yoga classes or simple and fun steps challenges to help them become more active every day.

7. Change Is Hard And It Hurts

Healthy habits develop in a supportive environment. Encourage employees to work their lifestyle changes like any other work-related project; as a team, setting goals, meeting challenges and considering failure as a chance to regroup and retry from a different point of view.

By Zara Martirosyan

CEO & Founder of inKin Social Fitness Platform

inKin is a digital platform that allows users to start taking care of their most crucial asset – their health through tracking their fitness and health parameters and getting more active on a daily basis through online challenges and competitions. It’s also a tool for launching corporate wellness programs.