Corporate Wellness 3.0: The Next Frontier

Corporate wellness is a vital component of healthcare in America. Find out what’s new and where we think the next frontier is moving…

The History of Corporate Wellness

Prior to 1970, corporate wellness “programs” were just work perks, not well understood. By the 1980s, employers recognized that they needed to take wellness seriously.

Evidence finally surfaced that certain health risks, such as smoking and obesity, were linked to higher healthcare costs. In an effort to reduce costs, wellness benefits took shape in various ways. Forward-looking companies encouraged employees to adopt healthier habits and demonstrated healthcare savings, but lagging companies did not.

In the 1990s, health risk assessments became commonplace in large corporations. Employers learned that they needed to segment their employees based on health status. Employers identified the sickest employees and enrolled them in health-promoting programs. As a result, the healthy workforce was ignored. Over time, some previously-healthy employees became a part of the sick group. By 2000, employers had learned a valuable lesson: we need to keep healthy employees healthy.

What Corporate Wellness Looks Like Today

The recent history of corporate wellness programs demonstrates that we’re still learning about workplace wellness, but one thing is certain: we’re spending more than ever before ($8 billion annually) on employee wellness, at a rate that is growing by 5% each year.

We’re still struggling for widespread adoption of programs that work. Efficacy is inconclusive and participation is varied (sometimes as low as 20%).

So, what are we going to do moving forward?

The numbers are there: employee wellness programs lower costs, reduce employee sick days, and increase productivity. According to a 2013 RAND study, employee wellness programs can lead to a $3.80 return on investment for employers for every $1.00 spent. But how do we increase this number even more?

We’re Focusing on the Wrong Things

Providing a blood test and genetic results is a step in the right direction, but fundamentally falls short of enabling day to day changes. The easy way is to spend over $500 for a test and call it corporate wellness. But it’s mediocre… and we’re better than that.

Nutritional care is the most important part of corporate wellness. Why? It impacts employees every day. Daily, your employees make over 200 food decisions.

Only 17% of corporate wellness programs currently have nutritional care in their wellness programs. This is shocking, and quite frankly, unacceptable.

Nutritional coaching is essential to obtain proven results for employers. To get the most bang for the employer’s buck, improving employees’ biometrics – through weight loss, blood sugar management, and blood pressure reduction – is necessary.

The benefits of nutritional counseling to employees are clear and evident. Evidence-based nutritional counseling definitively reduces insurance premiums, prevents chronic diseases, reduces sick days, and improves employee morale and workplace culture. To boost employee participation, interactive gamification software programs, like Healthie, are being used to deliver important insights and data.

Employees require support, accountability, and continuous coaching to gain real health benefits. Learning how to build nutritious meals, with the support to follow through and execute on these good habits, will prevent an afternoon slump, improve focus throughout the day, and maintain elevated energy levels.

When employees eat better, they feel better, live better, and work better too.

 

If you’re a corporate wellness dietitian or nutritionist and want to use Healthie in your business or find out more about how Healthie can help you, contact us today (hello@gethealthie.com).

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