Unflattering articles. Negative comments. Withering criticism. If you've been online at all recently, you've probably seen the work of a few (very) vocal wellness detractors. They may be a microscopic minority, but they make up for it in volume and shrillness.
I've avoided responding directly to these attacks because, quite frankly, we have more important work to do. We're focused on our clients -- all of whom are dedicated to helping their employees live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
Apparently that's controversial.
Dr. Gordon Norman, Chief Medical Officer at xG Health Solutions, posted a thoughtful essay on LinkedIn that I hope you'll read in its entirety. I'd like to highlight a few crucial points:
- Most employers do not expect instant cost savings. They know that building a culture of health takes time, but they also appreciate the positive impact that wellness can have on productivity and morale in the short term.
- Asking "Does wellness work?" misses the point. Each population (and wellness program) is unique. Therefore, we must ask what "success" means for this population, with its particular culture and needs.
- A focus on ROI is shortsighted. We know intuitively that improving employee health and well-being makes good business sense, even if some benefits are difficult to measure in dollars and cents.
Kudos to Dr. Norman for saying what many of us have been thinking for a long time. Now back to the work that really matters!