May 07

Saying Yes to Wellness: Employee Involvement Strategies That Really Work

Much has been written about how to get employees to participate in wellness programs, and yet most employees still resist – why?  Are they too embarrassed?  Do they think it’s a waste of time?  Do they think they don’t need it?  Yes, yes and yes are the answers to these questions, but how can you break through and get them to see past these initial barriers?  The theories and suggestions about how to encourage employee participation are all good, as far as they go.  However, most don’t go deep enough to identify the true cause for resistance, or the really sustainable solutions.  You know the answers, but no one has asked you the right questions.  Try some of these questions on for size:



  1. Do your health risk assessment tools identify cellular changes at the earliest possible time? Example: What if women could see breast cells changing 8-10 years before a mammogram can see anything. Would women be interested in such a test, and how to take prevention steps to reduce their risk by 90%?


  1. Does your wellness program help employees to understand exactly why previous weight loss efforts have failed? Example: One-size fits all weight loss does not work because everyone’s metabolism, brain chemistry and emotional history is different.       What if 90% of initial weight loss efforts were successful, would other employees be interested in such a program?


These two examples illustrate the missing key elements in most wellness programs – better information, better education and success.  Going through the motions of wellness is not good enough if:


  • The current tests are often not the right tests.
  • Wellness programs often overlook key factors.
  • Employees are not given adequate time to participate.
  • Employees are not given sufficient coaching to succeed.
  • Employees do not achieve sufficient results to encourage others.In order for a wellness program to be successful, it must be designed and delivered at the highest possible level of quality. These basic elements are necessary:
  1. A comprehensive business plan.
  2. Total top management commitment.
  3. Appropriate long-term funding.
  4. Properly trained wellness staff and health advocates.
  5. An excellent marketing strategy with incentives.
  6. State of the art diagnostics and Health Risk Assessments.
  7. The highest quality health educators.
  8. Excellent health coaches for follow-through.
  9. Measurement systems to calculate R.O.I., including improved morale and productivity.
  10. An evaluation strategy to continuously improve upon your wellness efforts.


Without a total commitment to excellence, wellness programs will continue to be plagued by sporadic success and disappointing long-term results.  You can reverse this trend by attending a half-day workshop on Creating Wellness Excellence.  Here is what the agenda for such a program would look like.


8:30     Opening remarks – “Wellness perfection is possible:  But no one has achieved it yet.”


9:00     The Barriers to Wellness Success – Participants list, then vote on the barriers to wellness they encounter.


9:30     Systematic Problem Solving – Participants problem solve the top 3-5 barriers using a proven problem solving methodology.


11:00   Sharing Our Solutions – Participants report back on the creative solutions they have found.  Creative seeds were planted by Dr. Bens and his associates during the problem solving session.


11:30   Where to Begin – “Making the case for the wellness program you want and need using benefits and consequences.”


If you are interested in such a workshop please contact our office to discuss the details.



Dr. Charles Bens

Healthy at Work, Inc.