Why do wellness programs fail?

On-site wellness programs are used as a strategic approach to help cultivate a more healthy and productive work environment, lower the instance of and manage employee chronic conditions, educate and increase overall health awareness all the while implementing health action campaigns to the target population. When wellness programs have a plan in place to be implemented and engage employees, they work wonders. However, we are going to look at a few examples of why wellness programs end up ultimately failing…..

1)      Keeping the healthy …healthy

The healthy individuals are more than likely to engage in an employee wellness program. These employees want to continue to stay healthy and see a minimal result from the wellness program. A wellness initiative that doesn’t target those that truly need the program won’t affect the overall healthcare cost.

2)      Ignoring the high-risk individuals

The majority of the time the employees driving health care costs up are those that have elevated measurements in blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and BMI. The bad news is roughly 80% of these employees are previously undiagnosed and have no idea of their current condition.

3)      No Upper Level Support

A lack of support from upper-level management can loosely be translated that even they are uncertain if the wellness program will work for their employees. Gaining the trust and support of management will help to get more health action campaigns implemented and with far less resistance and much better results.

4)      Lack of engagement

One of the biggest pitfalls for a wellness program is the overall lack of employee engagement. If a program is strictly voluntary/participation based, it will slowly die and fail if it can’t get any sort of buy-in from the employees it is targeted at engaging. People love following leaders, a big way to ensure engagement is up is to implement a wellness committee comprised of admired, respected and proven leaders to help drive home the message.

5)      Overall accessibility

If the program isn’t easily accessible, its far easier to blow it off at the end of a long, busy day. Workplace wellness should come to the employees rather than expect the employees to come to it.

6)      Failure to Execute

Far too many companies fail to see their programs through to completion. They think they have done their job by simply offering a program. This works fine as long as they aren’t expecting any particular results. Would you take the same approach with your product or service offering? You created it… it’s good… people should just jump on board and purchase it, right? If wellness is truly a win-win situation for both the Company and its employees, the company should be “selling” this internally just as much as it sells its products and services to its prospective customers.

Tyler Smith
Onsite Wellness Coordinator