Corporate wellness is all the rage these days. As employers seek to compete for a limited talent pool and make sure their employees stay healthy at the same time, they are either launching new corporate wellness programs or attempting to improve the ones they already have in place.
This new emphasis on corporate wellness is not bad in and of itself. But as with anything else, a poorly conceived and implemented corporate wellness program can end up being a colossal failure. It might cost a company plenty in time and resources but yield very little return.
Though six years old, a 2016 report from the Transamerica Center for Health Studies and two other research partners is still pertinent today. It reveals five things every corporate wellness program should avoid:
- 1. Non-Actionable Biometric Screening
Biometric screening – i.e., health risk assessments – are a good thing when they are followed by actionable programs and services. But screening just for the sake of doing so is not very productive. Unfortunately, non-actionable biometric screening is a common component of failing corporate wellness programs.
Healthy people do not need regular biometric screening. Unhealthy people who take no action following regular screenings are not actually deriving any benefit from them. In either case, non-actionable biometric screening is merely symbolic.
- 2. Minimally Equipped Clinics
Establishing a corporate healthcare clinic is not a bad idea if it is done right. The thing to avoid is opening a minimally equipped clinic that doesn’t offer any real value in terms of diagnostics. Such clinics end of being little more than first aid offices for employees who injure themselves on the job.
A company wishing to establish a productive clinic should think about remote healthcare kiosks that connect patients with physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners via video chat and online diagnostics. CSI Health is a San Antonio company that designs and builds them.
- 3. Financial Incentives
Another common component of failed corporate wellness programs is the financial incentive. If a company has to pay employees to get them to change unhealthy habits, they are inadvertently creating an environment of entitlement. If financial incentives ever have to be dropped, the sense of entitlement turns into resentment.
In addition, employees sometimes perceive financial incentives as an insult. Some end up doubling down on unhealthy behaviors just because they can. The financial incentive doesn’t make changing their lifestyles worth it.
- 4. Promotional Events
Offering promotional events designed to energize employees and get them excited about corporate wellness offer very little value in return. Employees perceive them as cheerleading sessions reminiscent of high school pep rallies. Promo events are largely ineffective at producing long-term results.
- 5. Bringing in Experts
It is not uncommon for frustrated HR managers and company owners to bring in all sorts of experts they believe can make their employees healthier. These experts are tasked with changing employee mindsets for the better. Examples include:
- lifestyle coaches
- dietitians and nutritionists
- healthcare case managers
- organizational development specialists.
As the 2016 report revealed, the many experts companies bring on tend to work in silos. This is to say that their services are not integrated. Therefore, they only focus on single issues that do not appeal to the vast majority of employees.
Failed corporate wellness programs have one thing in common: they focus on quick fix solutions that do not actually meet employees where they are. For corporate wellness to succeed, effort needs to be put into figuring out what employees need and making every effort to make it happen. Improving employee wellness is not a quick and easy enterprise. It takes time and effort.