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hi ann,

i recently wrote an article for sloan work and family research network on this survey. it makes a lot of sense to provide incentives to drive participation and to motivate behavior/reward completion. i'm a little surprised by companies feeling frustrated when we are still in early stages of understanding how to create health cultures in the workplace. at any rate, you might be interested in the article: http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/blog/employers-miffed-at-employees%E2%80%99-lack-of-health-engagement-get-real.

btw, this blog and compensation cafe are terrific.



Thanks for the comment and the link to your thoughtful, well-written article. Readers, be sure to click through to read Fran's piece - a nice counterpoint.

No one wants to seriously address the reason that someone may over-eat, self-medicate through drinking, or stay away from their desk chain smoking -- that being a toxic workplace.

I signed up for heath coaching, which consisted of a person calling me every night and whining in my ear about how I had to "live better". I received these daily phoe calls after being degraded and demeaned by a management structure that was so out-of-control that neither the corporate ombuds program or our HR department wanted to address the problem.

If people are serious about improving health, these companies providing health coaching needs to compile some information about the corpoprate culture and identify functions or individuals who are bullies or practice toxic leadership. If a member of management refuses to seek or be counselled if a problem is found, then they should have their health benefits cut (or better yet their bonus) until they do something to improve their skills.

The problem is twofold. First, wellness programs were oversold, and employers expectations are too high. Did your employee become unhealthy in 1 year? Probably not. Why would someone expect results in 1 year, results that would actually translate to reduced claims?
Second, most employers dont have the tools to measure results, its all pretty generic data, and involves long term prevention trends, not short term results. Its hard to measure how much impact your wellness program has on say, diabetes, without having metrics on a sample 'disease specific' population and actual claims incurred.

If large employers are seeking ROI from benefits investments, they'd do a lot better looking to Disease Mgt/Case Mgt programs, as this focuses on where the money is actually being spent, and how the spend can be better managed. Analagous to T&E Mgt systems that lower costs of actual travel thru aggregation/contract compliance etc. The first step is to reduce unnecessary travel, then pay 'best rate' for travel incurred. (And both have standards from the Feds for comparison & benchmarking).

Congratulations! This post was selected as one of the five best independent business blog posts of the week in my Three Star Leadership Midweek Review of the Business Blogs.


Wally Bock

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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