Corporate wellness programs are one of the hot topics that are discussed in the industry, and most of the people are concerned whether they work well or not. If you own a business, you must be concerned about the effectiveness of such programs as there are many companies right now that offer the service and you would be puzzled to decide whether it’s a good investment for your employees and your business or not.
What Are the Main Goals of Wellness Programs?
So, why wellness programs are done? Basically, the main goals of the wellness programs are:
1) Improve the health of the employees
2) Lower the employees’ medical insurance and healthcare costs
The corporate wellness programs are thus introduced for improving the overall health and wellness of the employees and in turn to increase the overall productivity. The employees are made to check in with a health coach or a nurse and their health is monitored. The wellness programs include regular checkup of heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol and these programs also keep a check on the weight of the employees. The employees are also encouraged to exercise regularly and walk for some minutes to keep their systems healthy and active. This way an organizational culture of good health is maintained and the healthcare costs are reduced too.
How Effective Are the Wellness Programs?
The debates on the ROI (Return on Investment) of the corporate wellness programs started rising after various studies were done. The certified corporate wellness specialists analyzed the ROI of the wellness programs and then presented their findings. A study was done on the employees of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where the employees were provided one year of wellness program. The wellness program included chronic disease management, health assessment, fitness challenge, and biometric screening. Also, the employees were divided into various groups and they were given incentives if they completed a particular program successfully.
The study was done to evaluate the effects of financial incentives on employee involvement in such programs and also to analyze that who benefits from such programs. According to the study, the wellness programs didn’t cause much improvement in the health of the employees and didn’t change their behavior. The research said that if the employees who get access to such programs are already healthy, it won’t matter much.
Another study was done on the same employees and it was a comprehensive one; it included online assessments, on-site health screening, financial incentives for participation, and wellness activities. However, there was one thing. After a year, the wellness program didn’t make a difference in the healthcare costs and didn’t change the employees’ health behaviors either. There were some good things noted in the employees’ behavior apart from their health measurement, and that was there trust towards the employer. The employees felt good and satisfied about their employers and knew that the company cares for their health and wellness.
According to most of the studies and the analysis of the certified corporate wellness specialists, the wellness programs aren’t much effective, but there are many reasons that make such programs a failure. If the corporate wellness programs are consistent and employee participation is encouraged, then these programs might work.