Employee wellness programs are appealing to many office and
plant workers for very good and practical reasons, but they pose some dangers,
The programs always are introduced by companies for the best
of reasons. Enlightened management wants the people working in a company to be
the best they can be, both physically well and well-trained. The combination of
good health and rising skill level can mean extra years in a person’s career
and extra money in the paycheck. For its part, management gets a workforce able
to more efficiently deliver the company’s goods or services.
DYNAMIC EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAMS
One of the dangers of a dynamic employee wellness program,
however, is that it can raise everyone’s expectations to an unhealthy level.
Consequently, some employees actually become more anxious because they see
co-workers losing weight, quitting smoking, or otherwise “getting with the
program” while they lag behind. Their worry is that company executives will
begin to promote their healthier peers over them, or find reason to lay them
Such anxiety is not altogether without merit. Some employers
do, in fact, become overly aggressive in their wellness programs and use the
programs to thin the ranks of the less healthy (and, thus, more costly)
employees. There is a critical distinction between incentivizing employees to
become fully engaged in a wellness program and penalizing employees who, for
one reason or another, can’t measure up.
Various regulatory programs—such as the Americans with
Disability Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and similar
legislation—help protect employees from being arbitrarily dead-ended or let go.
A good safeguard against willful or inadvertent abuse of an
employee wellness program is to give employees themselves a central role in
setting up a program and in administering it. Employees buying into a program
is the surest way to garner wide participation and to keep a program on track
as a positive force in the lives of the employees and the company.
Another intrinsic danger is in the health risk assessments
that often are given to establish a baseline for individual and group
improvement. The assessments can be invasive in terms of privacy. Furthermore,
a compiled assessment can work against both an individual and a company if a
health insurer aggressively pursues troubling data to a logical end.
A safer course is for a company to assess individual health
without getting into genetics and other information that is subject to
prejudicial interpretation. In short, employee wellness programs are a good
thing, so long as they function within safe boundaries.
REVIEW WELLNESS COMPANIES TODAY
There are a variety of wellness companies that offer different types of employee wellness programs. Be sure the company you choose has a robust end-to-end solution. One of the top global providers, www.ConvergenceHealth.com, offers a wide array of products. They work with large health plans, insurance companies, behavioral health companies, and large employers. Visit their site today for more information.