Last week, I wrote about the public relations nightmare CVS found itself in when details of its corporate wellness program went public. This week, another PR debacle: everyone is talking about Samoa Air's decision to base ticket prices on weight -- the weight of your luggage plus the weight of your body.
Samoa's Air's CEO argues that because heavier planes burn more fuel, it's fair to adjust prices for people who carry a bit more...avoirdupois.
This new weight policy reminds me of the store in Brisbane, Australia that tried to charge people $5 for browsing but not buying -- an ill-advised attempt to combat "showrooming." (Looking at merchandise in a store, then buying it cheaper online.) Thickheaded policies like these are what happens when business decisions are made out of frustration and anger.
So it is with wellness programs. If you view your employees as a liability, and you expect a wellness program to reduce that liability overnight, you're starting off on the wrong foot. Our greatest success stories are of companies who began with the premise that their employees' health is an asset that must be protected. This isn't just a difference in semantics: it's a completely different paradigm that guides every decision. (As a wellness provider, I can tell you which kind of company I'd rather work with!)
What do you think about the Samoa Air decision? Is this a sign of things to come, or just a desperate move that no one will want to emulate? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.