All The Rage (07-08-15)

With the rising cost of health insurance premiums, wellness programs are all the rage.  Ten years ago many thought the addition of these programs was a sales gimmick.
        
That was then… this is now.

Those infant add-ons to insurance plans have grown into full-blown adult versions in a very short time.  Flu shots, biometric screenings, lifestyle services, smoking cessation, fitness classes, cooking and financial seminars are just some of the options in these programs.  The list of employee benefits continues to grow.
        
Insurance companies and employers are becoming creative in offering voluntary participation with incentives and penalties.  But their creativity can only go so far.  All employees aren’t the same thus their motives and wellness needs won’t be the same either.  It can be a balancing act of the triple play - physical, mental, and financial well-being.  You can’t pick just one because they are all intertwined.

The stress of job performance is often unavoidable.  Add the worry of meeting wellness standards, releasing confidential information in order to save money and employees have more stress on their daily activities.  Simply acknowledging these factors goes a long way toward understanding the psychological impact of wellness programs.  Some employers have power naps or quiet time which allows their staff to get away for a short period to relax and refresh.  Employers want to encourage employees to strive to be stronger in their health without discouraging and comparing their results to others.  What is right for one person may not be right for another when it comes to wellness just as every person cannot handle the same job functions.
        
Integrating a wellness plan into a corporation includes many phases that can sometimes be overlooked. While a company may give their new employees the tools to enhance their health program, longer term employees may suffer from lack of appropriate knowledge of these tools. A minimum of annual meetings are essential to a company to make sure that all of the new and long-term employees understand and utilize the benefits that are available to them. Plus, if you are a company executive, the communication to a millennial versus a baby boomer generation is different. Even communication with shift workers requires specially targeted notices to help them with sleep problems and metabolic disorders. It is important to gear your wellness environment to your audience.
        
An effective wellness program takes an investment of money and time by both employers and employees.  Putting in the effort to make sure options are adequately available will help with productivity and retention. 
        
But, most importantly, people will feel good about themselves and about where they work.

And, after all, isn’t that what we all want?

 

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