Is it Time to Rethink Your Approach to Employee Wellbeing?

By Melissa Suzuno Sep 28, 2017 8:00:00 AM


Today more than ever, employers are focused on how to improve the employee experience and fundamentally, the wellbeing of their workforce. Organizations are quickly realizing that the always-on mentality, stress, organizational design, and other factors of modern work are significantly impacting their employees’ ability to be productive, successful, and happy at work.

Yet despite this realization and the desire to overcome it with employee wellbeing offerings, many companies are still struggling to see tangible, lasting results.

We understand that as an HR or Benefits leader, you’re in a difficult place. Of course you want your employees to be happy and healthy, but the programs you’ve tried and the resources you’ve invested haven’t worked out the way you intended.

Why is that?

Let’s explore the biggest roadblocks to effective employee wellbeing programming.

1. Lack of clear program goals

Is the goal of your program ROI-driven (to reduce healthcare costs)? Or is it something that’s more values driven? It’s become increasingly common to take a VOI-driven approach. According to the Willis Health & Productivity report, 64% of organizations are VOI focused while only 28% are ROI focused.

This also plays into a larger workforce trend: 53% of companies today would more broadly like to create a culture that promotes health and wellness, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2017 Employee Benefits Report. Other common goals include reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, and attrition. But if you’re not crystal clear on your program goals, it’s going to be extremely difficult to measure the success of anything you offer.

2. One-off or short-lived programs

Building a culture of wellbeing is no small feat, and having a long-term impact on employees’ health and wellbeing at home and work is an even bigger challenge. HR and Benefits leaders have tried everything from flu shots, onsite massages, and employee assistance programs to farmers’ markets to improve the lifestyle and health of employees. And while these efforts do have an impact, it’s often not the long-term behavior changes these leaders were aiming for.

Instead, companies see employee interest peak for a time, maybe make a shift towards improvement, but ultimately, employees fall back into their old routines and the stress, unhealthy eating habits, or lack of motivation mount again leaving employees—and their companies—back at square one.

3. No scientific basis

There are a lot of myths floating around about how behavior change works—and unfortunately some wellbeing programs are based on those myths. Some of the most common ones include how you can prompt someone to change their behavior (information alone is not enough) and how long it takes people to adopt a new habit (it’s longer than a lot of the existing programs!). If your employee wellbeing program isn’t based on the research of behavior and habit change, it’s going to be really difficult for you to see the results you want.

So what is the secret to employee behavior change? How can organizations move past the quick fix, short-term solutions and really build a foundation of wellbeing? Download our white paper, “The 5 Pillars of Employee Behavior Change” to find out!

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Topics: ROI, behavior change, employee wellness, corporate wellness, employee wellbeing, corporate wellbeing, VOI


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Lifedojo solves the employer’s crisis of under-utilized disease management, behavioral health and well-being benefits through an all-encompassing employee behavior change engine.

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