Paying employees to get healthy is a bad idea

I just discovered this brilliant whitepaper on employee wellness. It looks at a new worrying trend which has companies paying their employees to participate in wellness programmes.

This is of course an incredibly bad idea for many reasons, including these:

  • Financial rewards undermine autonomy
  • Employees who arenít ready or willing to changeÖ wonít
  • Financial incentives arenít enough to change complex behaviors

It’s really, really time for companies to understand that financial rewards have several serious limitations as a tool to change employee behavior.

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5 thoughts on “Paying employees to get healthy is a bad idea”

  1. I found it funny that my employer the last 2 or 3 years has been offing $100 off my insurance premium if I take a health assessment online which is provided of course by my insurance provider. My employer wants to know how out of shape I am? What decisions will be made with this info? And does “confidential”l mean to them the same thing it means to me? HR has not been on the employee’s side for years so, ahem, I might be a little skeptical.

  2. Wow. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the whitepaper was written in response to the health “rewards” programs that my company has implemented in the last few years. Just as the paper predicts, I’ve been able to hit the goals every year but I haven’t actually changed my lifestyle or become healthier.

  3. Now I am curious: did the companies pay employees to participate or did they pay for the wellness activity? To me the distinction seem significant! I agree so far if the employees are paid but if the company offer wellness activity as a benefit then I am not sure it has the same negative effect.

  4. I’ve been off the employment world, the real one, for close to three years. My virtual work is not really covered by these kinds of benefits but I am not surprised at all. Even if it means spending their cash, as long as employers think that it would power up the productivity rate of their employees, they would go for it. That’s just my observation.

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