Wellness, Like Many Things, Begins at the Top

Because of a summer cold I have not been able to exercise the last two weeks. And let me tell you I can feel it. So when I came across an article on wellness I read it with interest. The thrust of the article was that wellness, like company culture,¬†begins at the top. In “Key to wellness success: involved executives”¬† Tom Underwood argues that to increase wellness awareness¬†executives must be involved. This awareness has the secondary benefit of making executives potentially more fit as well. Underwood however, points out that executives, who are usually older with health problems, must have some incentive. One such incentive is that studies show that for every $1 spent on wellness, medical costs decline by $3.37. And if that were not incentive enough the cost of absenteeism drops by $2.73 for every $1 spent.
However, that is not enough it turns out. Executives must understand the business case for wellness. Additionally, the wellness program must meet the executives’ needs. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work. According to Underwood a good wellness program for executives must consider individual needs. He also suggests that in order to be truly effective participation in the wellness program needs to be on the executive’s performance appraisal. Interesting concept, I am however, somewhat sceptical. I would like to see some examples of the success of such programs.
Underwood is correct in one aspect for sure. If you want wellness to be successful it has to be emphasized at the top. I have seen it work with a safety program. I worked for one company with a mediocre safety record. Once safety was made a priority, and there was accountability for it, the accident rate came down significantly and workers’ comp costs were reduced. So it does work.
Wellness does pay off. I know personally. Now to get back to my exercise and diet.

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