Last week (March 21st to be exact) I participated in a tweet chat on how incentives can impact wellness programs/initiatives instituted by companies. Sponsored, managed, held, whatever by #co_health (@femelmed and @chimoose) the tweet chat lasted an hour and was fast and furious.
@chimoose does a great job of summarizing the chat here on his site "Chimoose Talks Nonsense." I urge you to go on over and check it out. If you've ever wanted to know what we think of wellness incentives - that's the place to go.
What You Won't See on the Chat Stream
What wasn't covered in the chat - and probably the most important thing a wellness incentive/recognition initiative should have is... wait for it... INTEGRITY.
What I mean by that is any wellness initiative - whether supported by incentives and recognition or not - needs to spring from the company's (meaning the people in charge) desire to have healthy employees. The initiative should be about helping and caring for the employees. If the program/initiative is simply a way to reduce costs (which they do...) don't do it.
Employees are very sensitive BS meters. They know when something smells wrong. Running an incentive for wellness just to reduce costs communicates to your employees that you'd run and incentive get people to be unhealthy if that drove your bottom line. Your wellness initiative MUST come from caring about your employees more than it does from caring about your costs.
Don't try to cover up a financial program with a wellness initiative. You'll lose trust and you'll have a difficult if not impossible time winning that trust back. And that trust will be lost in all areas of your business - not just wellness.
Do the right thing for the right reasons. Do wellness because you care.
Here's a quick tip to know if you're doing it wrong - if your CFO is the one pushing the program - you're doing it wrong.
At the end of the day wellness programs are about taking care of people - not taking care of profits.
Check out the recap on Chimoose's site and visit the sponsors’ sites and follow them on the twitters for more information - they are lovely people!