Employer “Active Commitment” – a must for a successful wellness program

by: Nichole Gunn July 21, 2010

Wellness programs have proved to be the way to decrease health care costs. Companies are increasingly offering wellness and health programs, yet the majority fails to understand what a successful program entails.

According to experts, programs that are not built around 'active commitment' and ongoing communication are more than often ineffective. “The more education and support that employers provide, the more likely it is that employees will embrace change and make lasting behavioral improvements,” Mike Tarino, president of DSM Personalized Nutrition states.

In addition to active commitment, another essential approach to creating an effective wellness program is to engage companies' leaders to participate; this will set an example and encourage participation on all levels.

Employee reward programs are another great way to motivate employees to participate in wellness programs. By rewarding employees who participate, other employees are essentially more encouraged to get involved.

When it comes to actual costs, a recent Harvard study revealed that for every dollar a company spent on a wellness program, medical costs decreased $3.27, and absenteeism costs declined $2.73.

Tarino states that: "Given the escalating costs of health care and the widespread incidence of chronic disease in our population, it's clear that employees need guidance when it comes to their health." The approach to creating a wellness program needs to be comprehensive and, in addition to rewards, companies need to educate their workforce and emphasize the importance of health through on going communication and one on one health coaching.