I'm a big fan of wellness programs. As a long time HR-guy I'm sure you're not surprised. If done well, they can impact the health plan spend for the organization. After all, the real goal of any wellness plan is to spend less money on the company sponsored health plan.
Let me say that again...
...the real goal of any wellness program is to spend less money on the company sponsored health plan...
I am passionate about fitness. My own...my family's...and my colleagues. Just take a look around you today and you will see the obesity epidemic raging across the workplace. It's as if our definition of "fit" has changed, and we accept a new normal.
That's not right.
The risks of obesity have devastating effects on health, life, and yes, health care costs. Yet for some reason we have confused the primary goal of wellness programs as being...well...wellness.
One of the outcomes of an effective program is improved health, and might even include a new passion for personal fitness (oh, if that were true all the time!) But in reality, fitness actually is a secondary goal.
Accountability is Required
Healthcare costs are such a massive amount of each state as well as the Federal budget that we almost accept that as normal too.
Just from my own experience as a Vice President of Human Resources for a mid-sized hospital, I oversaw a rapidly increasing health plan expense line that seemed to have no end in sight. One of the approaches to flatten that cost curve was to implement a wellness program...
...that held employees accountable, and rewarded them for their verifiable results.
No self-reported fitness.
No questionnaires that simply give points toward a company logo stress ball.
No trust...only verifiable results (think fitness tracker, doctor visits, etc.)
Sorry all, but without hard core accountability, your wellness program is a gigantic waste of money that not one executive will support.
How About You
Are you considering implementing a wellness initiative in your organization? If so, make sure it is more than just a feel good program that promotes "a healthy lifestyle." No one suddenly "gets healthy'" because their employer rolls out a program with no accountability.
I'd love to hear from you.