One of my favorite movie lines is from the 1974 hit, “Young Frankenstein.” It’s the one when Dr. Frankenstein meets Igor (Igor has a big hunch back bulging out of his shirt).
Dr. Frankenstein says, “Incidentally, I don’t mean to embarrass you in any way, but I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.”
Igor responds, “What hump?”
Of course the “werewolf… there wolf… there castle” line is next, which is also a riot, but has absolutely nothing to do with today’s blog. If you haven’t seen Young Frankenstein (it really is in black and white), I’d recommend it, and it would probably be more fun than reading papers about Wellness ROI. Although you’ll find high comedy in both activities.
“So, where are we going with this today, Connors?” Well, I’d like to make an offer to the University of Wisconsin (U of W). I don’t mean to embarrass the U of W, but I am a brilliant C+ Student, and I could help you with that hump. I know, I know, “What hump?” It’s that defect in your course offerings called, “Dynamics of Worksite Wellness Evaluation and ROI.”
There are so many things wrong with offering a course like this that I could easily produce a 50-page eBook on why not to do it, and what to do instead. But I’ll try to cut to the core issues:
1. The science underlying biometric-based workplace wellness programs is outdated. See “How to Build a Thriving Culture at Work, What’s science got to do with it?.”
2. The organizations and people that make their living in biometric workplace wellness hate these three bestselling books (which is exactly why you should read them):
a. “Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care,” by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis
b. “Surviving Workplace Wellness: With Your Dignity, Finances and (Major) Organs Intact,” by Al Lewis and Vik Khanna
3. Think about this concept: You have to believe people are machines or part of a machine to accept biometric, incentive-based wellness. That’s covered in the first resource above.
A better approach to health and wellness involves intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is holistic, free flowing, and highly intuitive. Providing people with healthful and supportive environments is an intuitive process. Treating people like adults, with dignity and respect, doesn’t require ROI analysis. People cannot be healthy if they don’t find their work enjoyable and rewarding. That has to happen first.
4. Wellness shouldn’t be expensive. But it is. And because it is, we’ve got to justify it. Instead, take away the expense of the program. Here are two eBooks aimed at showing workplaces just how easy it is to build low to no-cost wellness programs, using creativity, smart marketing, and a plethora of free, high-quality resources available to everyone right where they live!
Let’s stop producing these “Frankenwellness” programs and misleading the next generation by clinging to a sinking paradigm. U of W rethink offering the free course, “Dynamics of Worksite Wellness Evaluation and ROI.” It will do more harm than good.
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.