6 Reasons Why Some Corporate Wellness Programs Are a Failure

Posted by Aarti Shah on November 20th, 2019

Companies today are offering various corporate wellness programs in a bid to improve the health of their employees which is directly related to increased productivity in the organization. Such employee wellness programs also help cut back on employee healthcare costs which again benefit the company. Failure or success of any program is defined majorly on the aim and goals of the program.

For example, an employee health and wellness program aimed at improving the health of employees by reducing the health risks could be considered a failure if it did not help improve the health parameters of high risk individuals. On the other hand if a wellness program designed to create activities to make employees happy and energetic at work does manage to do so, then it could be considered successful. So, failure or success in any wellness program depends on the goal of the program. 

Most corporate health programs do work when they are well designed. There is an enormous amount of published scientific evidence which supports the impact of the well-designed wellness programs on an employee’s health.

Reasons why some corporate wellness programs are a failure:  

1. Healthy get healthier and high-risk participants get ignored:

Some people are already on a right track towards a healthy lifestyle. They are motivated to promptly take up wellness programs at work for their well-being and may see some results but then they do not have a large impact on the company’s healthcare costs. On the other hand, the high risk participants may not be motivated enough to engage in the programs. In fact many may not even be aware of underlying medical conditions to want to participate in such programs which deprives them of the positive benefits of the program.  

2. Having complicated programs: Programs should be employee friendly. Employees should understand how the program has been designed and how to work towards the positive outcomes. The wellness program should be easily accessible on their mobile phone or on the computer. Their motivation to work towards health goals is higher if there is an easy engagement in the wellness program.  

3. Focus beyond “weight loss”:

Wellness programs should not necessarily rotate around weight loss only. Yes, weight loss is definitely a good beginning but it is important to focus not only on weight loss but also on how to improve skeletal muscle mass, how to prevent lifestyle related illnesses, how to sleep well, how to deal with stress, exercise, etc. Working towards improving the lifestyle and decreasing blood parameters like cholesterol, glucose levels, blood pressure, etc and focusing on good sleep along with being active should be the core of any wellness program.  

4. Not result oriented wellness program:

Very often corporate wellness companies in India focus more on presentations and regular events with no novelty for employee engagement. It is not a surety that if the programs are unique, it will result in the success of the program but the employee engagement increases and this improves the chances of success rate of the program. The goals and visions have to be set at the start of the program and so the necessary data needs to be captured that has a successful impact on the wellness program.

5. Failure in creating and promoting healthy environment at workplace:

It is easy to begin with changing a lifestyle but is difficult to maintain that change. The real challenge lies in maintaining these changes for life. So, it is necessary to keep the environment at the workplace healthy by promoting a culture that supports healthy living. Over a period of time with small consistent changes the company will become a place where people get motivated to work properly and be healthy as well.  

6. Lack of communication:

When a wellness program is started, regular reminders via emails, printed materials, company social media, announcements, messages, etc. are important. This is because employees have too much on their plate and any new commitment may seem like an ordeal. The whole purpose is to “sell” the program to the employees for their well-being.   

The end goal of all employers should be to help their employees eat healthy, cut back on alcohol consumption, quit smoking and be physically active. This will help in improving their health and at the same time help in reducing healthcare costs. Corporate wellness programs should focus on looking at reduced sick leaves, increased focus and productivity, increased happiness in employees, increase in employee morale, increased work life balance, etc.

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Aarti Shah

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Aarti Shah
Joined: December 26th, 2018
Articles Posted: 27

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