June 2016
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June 2016
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The Pitfalls of Wellness Programs
Thursday, June 16, 2016

As employers begin to take more of a holistic interest in their workers’ well-being, employee wellness programs are starting to become more common. However, many of these programs are loosely organized, and few end up achieving the objectives they set out to accomplish. Good intentions don’t always lead to positive outcomes, and there are several pitfalls employers should watch out for that might derail wellness initiatives. The first has to do with team versus individual challenges and competitions. Indiana University Health, a healthcare system partnered with the Indiana University School of Medicine, issued a simple challenge to its employees: To be selected for a trip, they must log 10,000 or more steps a day on their Fitbits. However, workers soon started accusing one another of cheating, because several were logging more than 40,000 steps in one day. What should have been a friendly competition quickly turned nasty. Additionally, wellness programs need leadership, a resource that may be in short supply in times of constrained budgets. Additionally, an employee may not have the time necessary to compete.

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