Workplace wellness has become a popular initiative for many corporations. Much like FirstEnergy Corp., based in Ohio, many companies share the belief that adopting an effective wellness program would make sense to help promote the overall well-being of employees.
However, creating the ideal program that encourages employees to make significant strides in improving their overall health can be a difficult process. Don Powell, president and CEO of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, said that finding the proper wellness program for a corporation could soon become even more difficult, due to the advent of federal health care reforms.
Nevertheless, in 2011, FirstEnergy Corp. introduced its approach aimed toward enhancing the well-being of its employees, promoting productivity and boosting morale, and reducing overall costs. Instead of creating a disciplinary agenda focusing on shaming employees for their unhealthy eating habits, the company chose to offer comprehensive rewards to those who strive to improve their health.
As a result, employees who take the initiative to improve their overall well-being can earn $20 each month. In order to receive this incentive, workers must schedule regular doctor’s visits, undergo biometric screenings, and even consult with a health coach or participate in a wellness workshop. Additionally, for those employees who remain smoke-free and achieve other significant health milestones, ranging from maintaining healthy triglycerides to keeping cholesterol and blood pressure at recommended levels, even more money can be acquired, reaching up to $480 each year.
FirstEnergy Corp. is certainly not alone in its efforts to promote a healthier workplace. In a 2013 survey conducted by Aon Hewitt, 84 percent of employers reported that they also offer incentives to employees who engage in workplace wellness programs. Although 16 percent of those employers said they provide both rewards and penalties in their initiatives, 58 percent admitted that they plan to place penalties on employees who fail to participate in these programs within the next three to five years.
Consequently, research has alluded to the fact that not every workplace wellness program is successful in achieving its goals. Nevertheless, the way each program is designed can be crucial to the overall effectiveness of each initiative. Many experts share the belief that in order to craft an effective program, the plan must be created to cater to the specific needs and goals of the company.