As this nation continues to enforce a healthier America for our residents, so do employers in the workplace. Employers’ attractiveness of their organizations is valuing their employees and holding them as the most valuable asset to an organization. These employers have a priority, and that is, providing a safe and secure workplace for each. Alongside this, comes the concern in delivering and offering a better environment with a primary focus on employee health and well-being. To expound on this, one of the areas for enhancing employee satisfaction is improving the high costs in health insurance. In order to cut high spending on health insurance and offer better rates to employees and their families, more companies are seeking new approaches and sponsored programs to keep their employees healthier and with this provide a healthy environment. In the interim, having these types of programs also aids as a predictor for employee retention. Mondy explains wellness programs, are “Designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of employees and family members. Wellness programs are becoming more widespread as more employers become conscious of the impact employee health has on performance.” (Mondy & Martocchio, p. 351) This paper will expand on the components of these wellness programs, its strategy, and allude on the effectiveness of these programs across corporate America. It will conclude that a well-structured, designed, and managed wellness program is a practical approach for corporations to express to their employees that their health is their priority and because of this they will continue to improve the overall physical and mental health of the organization.
It is a known fact, health is a concern and with that comes the question “How can I take care of myself and how much will this cost?” Employers have a significant interest presenting the most compatible insurance rates for their employees each year. Companies benchmark with competitive insurance carriers each year to be able to provide the most competitive prices to its personnel. As corporations continue to grow more diverse, so will the interest in employees wanting policies to help balance their work and life challenges and responsibilities. Corporations can reduce health care spending by promoting healthy behaviors that reduce health risks in high-risk individuals and keep low-risk people healthy. Because of this, the initiative of wellness programs is being offered by employers more often than usual. This proposal is a vital part of a company’s success. Some companies provide wellness programs merely because they care and believe is the right thing to do; while others must prove the success of the program to continue offering it to their employees.
Analysis of Issue
Safety, Health, and security are common in its meaning coming from a workforce perspective. Safety, most commonly, is referred to as the act of protecting the physical well-being of the employee. Health refers to the state of wellbeing. And security is understood to protecting facilities and equipment from unauthorized access. Generally, in each organization, it is assumed that the Human Resources Manager is the personnel involved in providing the safety, health, and security for the organization.
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So how does the HR Manager look at gathering and designing this program’s elements? Companies should strive for encouraging positive introduction to position the program as a benefit rather than a duty. Some aspects to consider when designing a wellness program is to put together a program that will cater to the workforce and consider the benefits that will be gained from the participants. One of the goals for making this program available is to cut costs on health policies. Consider in the designing stage, introducing the program as a pilot and collect feedback on the satisfaction and utilization. Measure the level of behavior change within the participants using the program. The Journal of Health & Human Services Administration stated, “that it is essential to examine turnover and job satisfaction to determine the causes and to create solutions, such as work-life programs including flexible work schedules, telecommuting, special project assignments, and recognition programs.” (Pink-Harper & Rauhaus, p. 354)
Companies should also measure the Rate of Investment when providing this type of program. One of these data metrics can be projected on the employee retention rate. To reference the topic on employee retention, according to Sun Trust Bank, they “completed a financial wellness program with its own employees, it found that after 12 months, the retention rate of new hires who had completed the program was 92% versus 60% in the population who had not participated.” (Ford, p. 31) It can be established that the retention of these corporations will have a positive impact in the workplace.
Consistent with prior research, there were additional positive outcomes when offering this program. The research concluded that “lifestyle management programs as part of workplace wellness can reduce risk factors, such as smoking, and increase healthy behaviors, such as exercise. These effects are sustainable over time and clinically meaningful. This result is of critical importance, as it confirms that workplace wellness programs can help contain the current epidemic of lifestyle-‐related diseases, the main driver of premature morbidity and mortality in the United States.” (Mattke, et al. p.106) Furthermore, in a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, “employers argue that healthcare cost savings can be passed on to employees through cost-sharing, lower premiums, or higher wage and salary growth for employees. The importance of these cost issues was heightened for employers because the ACA planned to impose a “Cadillac tax” on employers who had excessive healthcare costs.” (Blumberg, p. 18)
Incentives seem to be an advantage for the effectiveness of these WWP’s (Workplace Wellness Programs). The RAND Employer Survey results indicated that “nationally between 20 and 30 percent of employers with incentives currently plan to start offering additional incentives for participation, completion, and health results, and 15 percent indicated an interest in increasing the amount of incentives for program participation.” (Mattke, et al. p. 66)
At the same time, offering this type of program may not always be a benefit for the company and or the employee. Something to consider when offering these types of programs is federal or state law that applies depending on the type of program. According to research conducted through LexisNexis, “There is a complex body of legislation related to federal preemption of state law applicable to WWP’s, but state law continues to apply to certain public and private employer programs and those offered by state and local governments.” (Pomeranz, J.L., et al. p. 1028). Not only do state laws apply, but cost reduction may not be as effective as realized. An analysis completed by RAND Corporation discovered, “Well-‐executed programs appear to improve employee health meaningfully, whereas significant reductions in health care cost may take time to materialize.” (Mattke, et al. p.105)
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Additionally, many companies use employee health surveys to compile their health information, and this may be considered overexposure of one’s privacy. SHRM cited, “Wellness programs often collect and disseminate personal health information to an unknown and unknowable number of marketers, database companies, and other data profilers.” (Wisenberg 2016) For instance, companies asking employees to wear fitness trackers to keep track of their health information to be able to report this to the insurance carriers. In many cases HR professionals may be oblivious on the implications should this type of information be shared outside the boundaries of what it is intended for.
Inefficiency in communication may be a factor for inefficient WWPs. If healthcare cost reduction still needs to be evaluated, using the right resources may enable employees to participate with leadership support, creative use of resources, and continuous program improvements that can contribute to improving employee health and increase the effectiveness of worksite wellness programs.
Program Success Case Study
It is recognized (as current place of employment) Johnson & Johnsonis the world’s largest healthcare company steering into achieving their established goal in being the healthiest fortune 500 company in corporate America. Over recent years, Johnson and Johnson have developed a “healthy work” environment for its entire staff worldwide. Johnson and Johnson’s CEO; Alex Gorsky, has touched on the importance of having staffed great leaders, and for these leaders to keep doing their work at their best. He adds, “it is essential to keep the energy and with this keep their health and maintain a balance.” Through extensive surveys on incentives, to employees, and mapping methodology, J&J has put together an attractive wellness program to aid the healthy and the not so healthy. By capturing results from the voice of the employees, it was established that such programs had enabled individuals to take action into their hands and have better control of their lifestyles. Comprehensive, specific, and multi-pronged strategies, were developed and aimed at encouraging healthy behaviors that impact presenteeism such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, smoking cessation, socialization, and work-life balance. J&J’s wellness program is attracting their employees at most. One of the well-liked incentives attracting employees is the company offering gym reimbursement to their employees and having a gym accessible at each site available for all employees including contractors.
The company set a goal of 90% to a healthy culture, and today the numbers have achieved to total 70%. J&J is assessing each program offered to its staff so that the goal reaches that 90% and though it would be good to reach the goal, the priority is the staff’s health not so much a number.
To summarize, this paper supports research that proves to be the best analogy on how employers incorporate wellness programs to aid employees to carry out a healthier approach while they work. By employers getting involved, not only do they take their employee’s wellness into their hands, but it also creates participation and strengths a company’s duty of caring for their staff. Participation incentives appear to be efficient. There are many approaches and incentives employers can offer through these wellness programs. For example, employers getting more involved in community events and sports leagues, or sponsor community wide competitions, which provides a payoff that extends beyond their organization.
- Blumberg, L. J., Who pays for employer-sponsored health insurance? 18 Health Aff. 58(1999).
- Ford, B. N. (2017 December). Designing A Workplace Financial Wellness Program. benefits Magazine, 31(3).
- Kapinos, K. A., Caloyeras, J., Liu H., Mattke, S. (2015). Does Targeting Higher Health Risk Employees or Increasing Intervention Intensity Yield Savings in a Workplace Wellness Program? Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 57(12), 1257-1261.
- Mattke, S., Liu, H., Caloyeras, J., Huang, C., Van Busum, K., Khodyakov, D., & Shier, V. (2013). Conclusions. In Workplace Wellness Programs Study: Final Report. 105-111. RAND Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt3fgzhg.13
- Mondy, R. W., & Martocchio, J.J. (2016). Human resources management (14th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
- Pink-Harper, S. A., Rauhaus, B. (2017). Journal of Health & Human Services Administration. Vol. 40 (Issue 3), p353-387.
- Pomeranz, J. L., Garcia, A. M., Vesprey, R., Davey, A. (2016). Variability and Limits of US State Laws Regulating Workplace Wellness Programs. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 106 (Issue 6), p1028-1031. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303144.
- Wisenberg, D. B., Wellness programs Raise Privacy Concerns over Health Data https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/wellness-programs-raise-privacy-concerns-over-health-data.aspx
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