by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re in the middle of vetting financial education providers for our employees; a top criterion is having a certified financial planner (CFP) paid by the hour, not by commission. The reason is simple: We don’t want an incentive to guide employees toward specific investments sold by the CFP.

In wellness, buyers of services have the same challenge. How do you get unbiased expert advice from consultants/vendors if they have a vested interest in the services you purchase? It’s theoretically possible, but unlikely in real life. While they go to great lengths to give the impression of objectivity, in the end many recommendations are based on relationships and are inherently biased.

Search “thought leader wellness” and “wellness expert” on LinkedIn — 6500 and 2200 hits appear respectively. That’s a lot of self-proclaimed expertise. You’d think with all of that brainpower we’d be doing a little better lowering health risks across the nation. Just because someone has listed thought leader in their profile doesn’t mean they are or aren’t. In the words of President Reagan while dealing with the Soviets, trust but verify.

So how do you go about hiring a consultant or vendor that truly has your best interests ahead of their own? It’s not easy, and it requires work. But if you’re in this for more than 1-3 years, and you want ongoing advice/services you can rely on for the next decade, there really are no shortcuts — you need to confirm their claims on your own. Read Avoiding Wellness Vendor Blunders on our blog ( for steps to getting it right. (NOTE: We sell wellness campaigns, so be sure to verify us as well.)

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