Corporate Wellness IS ALL About Helping Your Employees Feel Better From the Inside Out
This quote from an article in Fast Company best summarizes what I continue to point out when it comes to how our employees feel and are faring in the workplace.
“Companies introduce wellness programs without considering the whole person, including their sense of “purpose,” their social relationships, their financial welfare, and their sense of community. “These five elements are highly interdependent. If you just try to solve physical well-being without addressing the other four, you’re really missing out on a lot of opportunity to improve that physical well-being.”
If you work at a large or even medium-sized company, it’s likely you have access to some kind of “wellness program.” Over the last decade, many organizations have begun to monitor and intervene in their employees’ health and well-being, believing they can raise productivity, cut health care costs, and perhaps make themselves more attractive as employers. Rand Corporation says 85% of companies with more than 1,000 people have at least one wellness initiative.
“Corporate wellness” is now a $6 billion industry covering many aspects of health. Employers use financial incentives to encourage us not to smoke or to watch our cholesterol. They penalize employees who get too fat, or offer discounts on health insurance to those who slim down. And, in theory, it all makes perfect sense. We all have a stake in being more healthy.
But there’s a problem. The evidence that wellness initiatives work is limited; in fact, there’s more to say the $6 billion is being wasted. One problem is awareness. Gallup found only 24% of staff at companies with programs participate in them, largely because they don’t know about them.
“The wellness programs are not having nearly the impact they could be having,” says Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being. “I think they’re well intended but it doesn’t matter if they don’t get used.”
At present, only 12% of employees “strongly agree” their employer is improving their well-being. Only 6% of all employees feel they are “thriving” across all five elements of workplace well-being. “A majority of employees believe their job is a detriment to their ability to achieve higher well-being,” Gallup says. Perhaps the fundamental reason corporate wellness isn’t working is because work is getting in the way. There’s no time and space to get healthy when we have to do all the other things we have to do.
CORPORATE WELLNESS —-THE EMPLOYEE IS THE BUSINESS