More on Wellness Programs: I Still Hate Them

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I was approached by Jon Singer who wanted me to share the following:

Thanks for spreading the world about Capitalize on Wellness, a lunch and learn event on January 15, 2009 where individuals can learn how to reduce costs and increase productivity while supporting a worthy cause.

The fee for this program is a $30 donation to any of the following charities: American Heart Association, Center for Food Action , PACS/Feed The Children or REED Academy.

Capitalize on Wellness will be presented at Club H Fitness, an upscale boutique health club located at 423 W 55th Street (Between 9th and 10th Ave.). I have attached a flier/registration form or you can click below for the pdf: mailer.singernelson.com

Topics to be discussed include:

*The Components of Wellness
*Alarming Health Statistics
*The Effect of Lifestyle Choices
*Critical Healthcare Concerns
*Reducing Costs, Increasing Productivity
*Designing an Effective Wellness Program

Thank you for sharing this with your NYC area human resource contacts and click here to register:
www.singernelson.com

Jon

P.S. A healthy lunch will be served and attendees are welcome to use all of the facilities of Club H before or after the presentation.

This was a generic email message, so I sent Jon a personal note and invited him to review the very succinct reasons why I do not support ‘corporate wellness plans’ in the workforce. Furthermore, I also stressed that Human Resources has no place in managing a wellness program.

Jon responded,

To give you some background on why we are involved in this event, we created a technology called The HealthPlan Optimizer. We have helped many companies by auditing their health plans and achieve terrific results in reducing costs while often times improving benefits by making their plans far more efficient in terms of how they use their money.

We have started moving towards recommending wellness programs to help change behaviors of employees for their personal benefit as well as for the benefit of the company. I understand that the right wellness programs can lead to a reduction in sick days, improvements in personal productivity, and ultimately reduced health insurance costs with healthier employees. Since employees pay an increasingly higher percentage of the cost of benefits this is something that can be good for both the employer and employees.

I understand that many wellness programs are not effective or successful because they are not backed by strong incentives. And in very large companies that experience high turnover the benefits of wellness programs may never be realized by the employer.

Given everything above, please let me know why you are not a fan of corporate wellness programs and why you believe HR has no role in the process.

It appears that Jon didn’t follow the links that I provided to him, so I thought that we could engage in a more public conversation. Here are my thoughts (once again) on corporate wellness programs.

  1. Successful wellness programs with a clear ROI

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