Employee Motivation, Program Funding Top List of Wellness Program Obstacles

Motivating employees to participate in wellness programs traditionally tops the list of problems for wellness professionals each, according to our exclusive annual surveys.

Always a significant number of respondents to the Wellness Program Management Advisor survey cite motivation as the biggest obstacle they’ve found in initiating or operating a wellness program.

While some respondents are looking for increased employee participation in programs or boosts to current low participation rates, others said they are combating the problems of “apathy” and maintaining individuals’ interest once they are currently enrolled in programs. Several respondents, for example, said getting people to commit to their program — particularly a comprehensive, multi-session program — was a huge obstacle.

“Short-term, they participate (i.e., flu shots, etc.); long-term, fitness teams, they don’t want to commit,” one respondent explained.

“Participation consistency of employees” is an obstacle, added another respondent.

Adding to the difficulty of motivating employees and generating interest in the program is the struggle to keep things fresh, or as one respondent noted, “creating programs to address the same risks year after year.”

Encouraging participation in programs isn’t the only problem, respondents noted. Some wellness professionals say that encouraging participation in evaluation surveys is a significant obstacle as well.

In conjunction with the participation problem, respondents said, is a lack of time, as employees and potential program participants say they can’t find enough time to commit to these programs. Approximately 10 percent of the survey respondents experienced this problem as a significant obstacle. For example, one respondent said there is a “perception that participation is time-consuming.”

“Ours is a self-paced, self-report program requiring only two hours per year to check in with a wellness specialist!” the respondent added.

Employee buy-in and overcoming “employee suspicion and distrust of motives” also is an obstacle, according to 5 percent of the survey respondents.

More on the survey results in our next post.

Source: Wellness Management Leadership Survey, Wellness Program Management Advisor copyright 2009



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