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With the latest recommended strictures on wellness programs from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), it may be time to take a break from to the “walking challenges and health risk assessments” school of corporate wellness thinking.  Instead, as Schindler Elevator Corporation found, integrating corporate goals and changing the vocabulary of wellness allowed the company to integrate wellbeing practices into its very culture.  All of this is not to advocate skirting around the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other relevant laws and rulings related to employee-employer relations.  Reasonable alternatives still apply to 1) get the most participation in any wellness program and 2) to be inclusive of all employees.

 

Schindler started from the top–as buy-in on the executive level is key to any wellness program–by introducing a managerial training program that focused on personal development as part of leadership.  With managers in the right mindset about the relationship between safety and wellness, the company created its own set of wellness champions.  Changing the language with which the company engaged employees about wellbeing topics also helped to gain more traction among employees, i.e., “energy” and “sustainability” instead of “health” and “wellness.”  No ROI figures or participation estimates were given in the source BenefitsPro article. Regardless of exact, numerical ROI, the point remains: if you want wellness to “stick” at your company, build a program around your culture and alongside your business goals.

 

References:

“NAHU Tells the EEOC to Keep It Simple.” National Association of Health Underwriters, January 29, 2016. http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/nahuw/issues/2016-01-29/index.html

Putnam, Laura. “How to Sneak Wellness into Your Company.” BenefitsPro, January 26, 2016. http://www.benefitspro.com/2016/01/26/how-to-sneak-wellness-into-your-company?&slreturn=1454611077

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