by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Wellness program managers can feel like the organization’s poor stepchild — last in line for table scraps and left to scrub the floors long after their more fortunate siblings are off to the party. It’s a condition of our own making in some instances. If we’re not working to influence higher-level decisions, we get what we deserve. 

But how do you gain impact on the C-suite when proving ROI is next to impossible? Take a page from the Presidential candidate playbook: Communicate with conviction. Politicians make their careers by being certain of their position. You never hear someone on the debate stage say “I haven’t thought about that… let me mull it over and get back to you.” Whether we agree with their position or not, we like certainty. 

Start with the position that you are the expert when it comes to worksite wellness. Yes, you want and need input across the organization, but you’re the one in charge of establishing a vision, creating consensus, and executing strategy. If you’re not prepared to accept that responsibility, you have little hope of getting what you want — and success can happen only by chance. Are you willing to take that risk? If not, here are some steps toward certainty, and ultimately influence:

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re hearing more wellness programs resurrecting classroom-based education. We think the revival is, in part, a reaction to being over-webinared. Here are a few ways to enhance the face-to-face experience:


  • Reward participants who apply the skills and information taught in the classroom; offer services, discounts, or premiums to all who complete a log form documenting their use of the skill or data
  • Pair participants with a mentor or buddy who can support their behavior change efforts after the classroom instruction

Schuster’s Driving Wellness Program Hits the Road -- Driving Wellness Image.

According to TruckInfo.net, 15.5 million commercial trucks and 2 million tractor-trailers criss-cross America’s highways, covering 433 billion miles annually.

Erica Wenzel (Director of Human Relations and Worksite Wellness at the Iowa-based trucking firm, Schuster Company) emphasizes it’s a tough job.“Cross-country trucking presents great challenges to healthy lifestyles. Besides being away from their homes and families for extended periods, drivers must deal with constant loneliness and the stress of navigating through busy traffic day after day in a big rig. Wellness strategies that work in other businesses might not work for us.”

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re surprised how often we hear HR folks (and even the occasional seasoned wellness pro) suggest that requiring wellness challenge participants to wear a Fitbit® or Jawbone®, Garmin®, or any of dozens of other devices will prevent cheating. It doesn’t. If there are bragging rights, you’ll get a handful of cheaters. Add an incentive and you’ll get more. Make it a rich incentive and you’ll be surprised at some folks’ creative abilities to game the system.

But preventing cheating shouldn’t be the goal; it’s the problem. When you require participants in a wellness program to “prove” they did this or that, you’re saying we don’t trust you. And when you tie validation of health activities to incentives/disincentives, you turn off a lot of people often the employees who need your help most.

Want to limit corner cutters and flagrant fakers? Here’s how: