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Dear Workforce Why Do Employees Hate Our Wellness Program

How can we raise participation rates in our wellness program? Currently, about 8 percent of employees participate, but we obviously would like this to be higher. We are a relatively young company—average age of employees is 34. How could we respond when members of our staff say they are looking for “instant gratification” rather than long-term goals for participating?
May 4, 2010
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Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Health and Wellness, Dear Workforce
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Dear Making Us Sick:
Getting employees to participate not only in your wellness initiatives but to also be really engaged is a challenge many organizations face.
A simple but incomplete answer would be to pay your employees to participate. This will yield a certain level of increased participation, but perhaps not the sustained participation and true engagement you seek.
A successful wellness effort takes a comprehensive strategy and the organization-wide support of employees and their dependents. Employees need to believe that each program element will help them reach their desired goals.
To feel comfortable participating in your wellness program, employees must believe that their personal data will be held in the strictest confidence and that your organization is truly concerned with their health as much as (or more than) it is with reducing costs. Integrating a comprehensive communications strategy into your wellness strategy helps to achieve this.
When considering incentives, think about the employee behaviors you intend to change and how those behaviors should be customized to your workforce. This might include increased program participation, changes in lifestyle or improved health outcomes. Before deciding which incentives are right for your workforce, it is important to understand the factors that will motivate your target audiences. Consider using focus groups or a simple online survey to learn what will encourage people to take the desired actions. Getting this understanding gives you a key component of a successful wellness strategy.
SOURCE: Steven F. Cyboran, Sibson Consulting, Chicago, April 1, 2010
LEARN MORE: Financial penalties motivate some employees to participate in wellness programs, but the more positive motivator is the desire for good health.
Workforce Management Online, May 2010 -- Register Now!
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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