5 Reasons Why Corporate Wellness Programs Fail

Posted by in Tip of the week


Corporate wellness has been a huge trend for the last couple years. Many businesses have embraced this movement, integrating wellness programs to enhance the overall work experience of their employees. As with many new trends, there’s still fine-tuning that needs to be done. While the goal seems simple enough, there are a number of reasons why corporate wellness programs don’t always yield the desired results.

1. No incentive.

Companies are trying to figure out the right way to combat rising health issues and healthcare costs of employees. This is usually the motivation to implement a wellness program. While this makes sense from a business standpoint, there needs to be some incentive for employees too. Clear benefits and encouragement will help to incentivize employee participation. Some employers are now lowering employees’ healthcare contributions with rebates if they do participate in a wellness program.

2. Expecting quick results.

Chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke and cancer, account for 75 percent of total healthcare costs. They are also the most preventable type of disease if you take steps to stop the progression. However, it’s important to remember that changing old habits doesn’t happen overnight. An employee wellness program must address the time it takes to change behaviors through consistent positive reinforcement. According to Behavior Design Guru B.J. Fogg, “Lasting behavior change won’t occur unless the person has the ability to feel successful.” Fogg says it’s critical to recognize employees’ successes to reinforce a belief that they can continue to be successful.

3. Too intrusive.

Some employee wellness programs involve personal health assessments that can feel very intrusive. Workplace diet or exercise-related programs aimed at weight loss are particularly challenging. While improving health is obviously a positive, employers must understand that there are privacy issues involved.

4. Treating everyone the same.

One employee has different health needs and requirements than the next. Some employees may be more reluctant in discussing their health publically than others. You have to understand the differences in your workforce and address each employee individually.

5. Having a one-way conversation.

Some companies are missing out on having conversations with employees about their well-being before prescribing a wellness program. Input and feedback from employees is vital in developing a wellness program that meets their health needs.

Like many ideas that seem fairly simple, the challenge often lies in the execution. Wellness programs can actually ask a lot of employees. They need to be incentivized, encouraged and treated as individuals. A good corporate wellness strategy will be a joint effort of the employee and the employer.