I’ve been quite vocal about supporting only wellness done for employees and not to them…but what if there could be a “conventional” wellness program – even including screening, HRAs etc. – that both you and I could love?
People manage what’s measured and what’s paid for. If employers want people to stay healthy in the long run, why not measure and pay for health in the long run?
Why not give people the incentive to stay healthy during their working years, instead of giving them the incentive to pretend to participate in programs of no interest, just to make a few bucks? Or, worse, give employees the incentive to learn how to cheat on biometrics, and how to lie on health risk assessments. Attempts to create a culture of health often create a culture of resentment and deceit.
Short-term incentives haven’t changed weight, as noted behavioral economist Kevin Volpp has shown. Nor have they changed true health outcomes – it is easily provable that wellness has almost literally never avoided a single risk-sensitive medical event. So-called outcomes-based programs, ironically, are more about distorting short-term outcomes than achieving long-term outcomes. They have more in common with training circus animals to do tricks in exchange for treats than they do with helping employees improve long-term health.