Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work?


Dr. Ron Goetzel and colleagues (which included the Vitality Institute’s Dr. Derek Yach) recently published a JOEM article, “Do workplace health promotion programs work?” — a must read for anyone interested in improving workforce health.

The short answer – “It depends.” It depends very much on the rigor with which you design and execute your workplace health promotion or wellness program. It depends on establishing a culture of health. It depends on implementing an evidence-based and proven program that can achieve positive health and financials results.

Goetzel and company examined a broad compilation of more than 30 years of evidence and outcome studies looking at the effectiveness of workplace programs, as well as recent studies that have questioned the value of workplace programs.

They concluded that when well-designed and comprehensive, wellness programs do work. However, employers looking to improve health and ultimately their bottom line, must have clearly defined goals and create a culture within their organization to facilitate success. And while it may seem rather obvious, those who use best practices and proven programs will increase their likelihood of success.

According to the Healthy People 2010, a comprehensive wellness program includes health education; a supportive social and physical environment; is integrated into an employer’s benefits, HR, and environmental infrastructure; is linked to EAP programs; and includes screenings, educations, and follow up.

For more information on how to implement a program that will improve the health of our workforce and positively impact workforce performance, join the Vitality Institute’s webinar series. The next session is October 22 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern. The discussion will center on how to create and the business case value for a healthy workforce, how to design and evaluate a program within an organization, as well as the challenges within organizations to achieving a positive return on investment through workplace health promotion and how to overcome these obstacles.

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