We all have heard that corporate wellness programs could give huge advantages for both employees and employers, from reducing elevated health risk to sustaining high employee morale. But do you know that not all employees are actually fond of wellness programs? Based on a webcast by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), here are some reasons why employees hate wellness programs.
Between long working hours and 24/7 connectivity with their task-related matters, as well as family obligations, employees are busy. IFEBP cited that 86 percent of employees do not participate in wellness initiatives because they simply do not have the time. Meanwhile, 63 percent of employees are unwilling to devote more than an hour a day to improve their health and wellbeing.
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Not everyone enjoys health and fitness. A quick look at the country’s obesity rates, nearly 40 percent is evidence that a large percentage of Americans are not focusing on their wellbeing. The reason is that many think it is not interesting or fun. Not to mention, taking time out of a busy workday to go to a biometric screening is not necessarily fun.
Company’s smoking-cessation program might be enjoying success, however, if only a small percentage of employees are smokers, then participation in your wellness program will not be high. While corporate wellness challenges might get incredible results, if the activities appeal only to weekend warriors, it won’t meet the needs of most of the employees.
Many employees worry that participating in a wellness program will allow their employer to access their medical records. IFEBP mentioned that about half of employees surveyed are reluctant to sign up for a wellbeing program because they are wary of employers having access to their personal health information. Whilst this lack of trust is understandable since healthcare data is sensitive, it is important for employers to be both genuine and transparent when asking employees to participate in the program. Most distrust in wellness programs comes from poor work relationships and communication.
As an employer, when you have branded your wellness program and developed a robust communication plan, you might think that the program is clear as day. Yet, employees might not agree with you. Some still might not understand what they need to do. If the program has too many steps and forms, participation rates will lag.
Employees often feel they will be judged if they take an hour out of their day to attend a wellness seminar or a fitness activity. Managers also often fail to realise how their habits influence their team. Managers lead by example and can inspire within their company if they share the importance of wellbeing with their team.
Employers might have developed great financial incentives for their program, but employees are not aware of the value. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of employees underestimate the value of wellness program financial rewards and incentives, which average about $742 per employee per year. In fact, 41 percent of employees surveyed estimated the average annual wellness program financial reward at between $0 and $300.
Last but not least is that employees do not participate in the wellness program because they are not aware of what their employers offer in a wellbeing program. Employers might spend too much time and energy communicating programs, yet if the communication is not effective, employees might perceive the message differently. Therefore, it is better to communicate the program truthfully and to the point.
Read also: Virtual Wellness: Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Pandemic with Lucy Bennett-Baggs, Founder & CEO of Just Challenge