Industry insights for job seekers and employers.

Why Your Employee Wellness Initiative is Failing

These days, doctors aren’t the only ones interested in your well-being. From grocers to banks, customer wellness programs are popping up everywhere. But of all the places you go each day, your workplace may have the most significant influence on your overall well-being. And, according to a recent Gallup study, the person who can best help you reach your wellness goals is someone you probably least expect: your manager.

Companies are starting to implement wellness programs, recognizing that they can help curtail unhealthy behaviors that may lead to chronic health conditions down-the-road. Health programs, when adequately implemented, improve the overall health of employees, increase productivity, and reduce the number of missed workdays. They also positively affect a company’s bottom line.

But, solely offering a wellness program doesn’t guarantee that your employees’ overall health will improve. For starters, workers must be aware the program exists and then be persuaded to use it – and that’s where things get tricky. Only about 24% of employees tend to participate in their company’s wellness programs.

So how do you encourage employees to not only participate in your wellness program but also enjoy it?

Surprisingly, studies show that engaged managers can make a huge difference. Managers account for about 70% of employee engagement. When managers engage their workers, they become 28% more likely to participate in wellness initiatives. It’s a large enough improvement in participation to stand out.

Below are three ways you can increase engagement in your company’s wellness program while striving to create an environment of well-being.

Stop Focusing on One Goal

That’s right; we said it – stop emphasizing just one goal! Real well-being is multifaceted and encompasses five key elements:

  1. Purpose – liking what you do and feeling motivated to reach your goals
  2. Social – having supportive and loving relationships in your life
  3. Financial – effectively managing your economic growth
  4. Community – loving where you live and feeling safe in your community
  5. Physical – having the energy to complete daily tasks while possessing good health

Too many companies focus solely on physical health initiatives such as weight loss or quitting smoking, rather than programs that incorporate all five well-being components.

Holistic company initiatives see significant improvements in overall employee performance with 41% fewer missed days, a 43% increase in volunteerism, 65% fewer workplace accidents, and a whopping 81% less outside job search activity.

Audit, Audit, Audit

Workplace wellness programs are expensive; there’s no way around it. However, if properly implemented, they have the potential to offset rising healthcare costs and create a more productive workforce. To ensure that your wellness program is effective, audits, routinely administered, are essential for managers to determine whether their employees are participating in and benefiting from their company’s health program. If they aren’t – find out why!

Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Does our company culture support our current wellness initiatives?
  2. Do our company’s leaders display healthy behaviors?
  3. Am I making the time to participate in company activities with my team?
  4. Do I help my team members set goals and achieve them?
  5. Do I bring up health initiatives in my one-on-one meetings and conversations?

Regular audits can help you catch a floundering health program before it fails and falls by the wayside.


Emerging studies are beginning to show that company wellness programs aren’t working – they’re ineffective and they’re a waste of money and time – so what is causing the gap? Even with the best intentions, carefully gathered data, and conscientious effort, company wellness programs are still falling short.

In 1926 Henry Ford changed the regular work week from 48 hours to 40 and United States companies quickly followed suit. It was one of the single most significant health initiatives ever enacted, and it made a substantial impact on the American workforce. Ford’s decision to change the work-week structure shifted health focus and responsibility from the worker onto leadership.

One of the most significant issues with company health initiatives is that they place sole responsibility on employees to improve their work environment without making changes internally or listening to their needs. Take the time to survey your workers and determine what gaps exist in your company culture and policies, then, if changes are possible to implement them promptly.


Staffing Service USA is a recruitment agency located in Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Our passion is to match the candidates with their perfect job. We work with our clients to fill temporary, temp-to-permanent, and permanent positions, and proudly participate actively in our community. To learn more about our services, please visit our website.

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