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Is Your Wellness Program Stuck on Best Practices?

October 14, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

One of my frequent debates with longtime industry colleagues is the notion of best practice. The malleable term gets bandied about when someone wants to believe what they’re doing has somehow been ordained as the way to practice wellness. It’s all I can do to contain myself when among the list of program components is financial incentives.

The sheer ignorance of that position makes me immediately call into question everything else on the list, even though I know better. Indeed, in the right culture — and with skilled execution — biometric screening, health coaching, and visible support by senior leadership can be a net positive. But when an industry association or vendor trots out the best practices as if they’re criteria for success, and the list includes the notion that paying people to change is desirable or necessary, watch out. It’s not only patently false, but sets up the wellness program for long-term failure.

   

How to Get Over Your Fear of Selling Wellness Services

October 14, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

One of the many negative side effects of the entitlement approach to wellness — where employees are expected to participate because we’re paying or penalizing them — is that already timid wellness pros are becoming even more shy about going out and really selling services. That’s a mistake if you have something worth selling. If you’ve completely crossed over to the dark side, and a financial reward/punishment model is your wellness program, then you’re right to stay safely in your office.

But if you have something your population actually wants, getting over your fear of selling is crucial to a robust, growth-oriented wellness program. Here’s how:

   

Wellness Participants Need a Community, Not a Network

September 30, 2014

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

In the early days of our online wellness campaigns we built in teams, buddies, and other social features — knowing that getting people to interact online would carry over offline for support and encouragement. Interestingly, many organizations asked us to turn off social features for fear employees would “waste” too much time. Fast-forward to 2014… clients can’t get enough of these same social features, plus integration with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and the rest. Has the pendulum swung too far? Yes.