Wellness programs for employees are often touted, but what is often not discussed are the challenges of implementation. What factors should employers consider first? In this article, we will take a closer look.
Implementing the Right Program
One of the primary challenges in implementing wellness programs is worker participation. Worker patronage depends on whether the selected programs address the employee’s actual needs. Many organizations make the mistake of tailoring such programs based on their societal popularity, with scant regards to the relevance of such programs for the employees.
Take, for example, the common problem of obesity. Though affecting a large segment of the general population and a popular inclusion in many wellness programs, a program dedicated to combating obesity would remain useless in an organization where no one is obese. Similarly, many organizations limit wellness programs to address issues related to physical health, when issues related to mental health such as anxiety and stress may be more pressing concerns.
Communicating the Message
The second challenge is ensuring that the programs benefit the intended beneficiaries. This requires clarity of purpose and communicating the details and benefits of the scheme to the rank and file.
Two common misconceptions associated with wellness programs that effective communication solves are:
- employees feeling the company trying to intervene in their personal lives and perceiving it as a violation of their rights
- concerns over who reviews the health information
The onus lies on lower level management to clear the misconceptions and convey the advantages of wellness program to the workers under their authority