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Why your wellness program probably isn’t working

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

When it comes to workplace wellness programs, the old adage that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink is true.

Only about 24% of those who work for large employers that offer wellness programs actually participate in them.

Most large employers (those with 1,000 or more workers) sponsor programs designed to improve employees’ health by, for example, promoting exercise and good nutrition, providing medical screenings and helping workers quit smoking. However, only 60% of those companies’ employees are aware of the programs—and fewer than half of those who do know about wellness opportunities decide to participate in them.

Wellness programs’ diminishing returns

Large employers offering wellness programs   85%

Employees aware that they have a wellness program   60%

Employees who participate in their wellness program   40%

Source: RAND Corp. and Gallup research, February 2015

The nonprofit RAND Corp. estimates that U.S. employers spend a combined $6 billion per year on workplace wellness programs.

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