By Melissa J. Anderson

According to the latest Global Workplace Health and Wellness Report [PDF], most corporate workplaces either have a wellness initiative or are planning one (only five percent said they had nothing in the works).

But despite their popularity, many are struggling to attract participants. Survey respondents – health and wellness practitioners charged with developing these programs – say the issue for most is that people are just too busy to participate. Secondarily, they continued, the programs just aren’t that fun.

The goals of the programs are to improve health and engagement, as well as help people avoid spending money on healthcare and taking time off. The report explains:

“Employee health (69%) and engagement and morale (68%) are the key wellness objectives. Organisations are focusing on the fundamental change drivers and taking the ‘bigger picture’ approach in order to achieve sustainable success. Objectives such as reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity and reduced absenteeism are secondary drivers, with many seemingly perceived as a by-product of addressing these two primary success factors.”

This report should be a wake-up call for managers and talent practitioners. If people are too overworked to engage in programs designed to boost their health, then employers are looking at a future workforce with a big burn-out and productivity problems.

High Hopes, Low Participation

The Global Workplace Health and Wellness Report is an annual survey of health and wellness decision makers at almost 400 companies around the world. Industries included “Government, FMCG, Banking, Accounting, I.T, Manufacturing, Mining and more,” the report states.

The study shows that only 5 percent of organizations don’t have a wellness program or at least plant to implement one. Almost a quarter (22 percent) say they have a fully implemented program, and 41 percent say their program is partially implemented. The rest are in various stages of development or strategic planning.

It is interesting that so many companies are working to implement these programs, even though participation rates are strikingly low. The report reveals, “Most wellness initiatives are achieving below 20% participation rates. Organisations are getting the highest participation in health risk assessments, biometric screenings, health fairs, and physical activity challenges.”

Survey respondents say one of the key challenges in putting together a successful program is budget constraints. But they main issue, according to the survey, is time.christian louboutin schuhe online,ralph lauren uk,louis vuitton bags sale,michael kors sale uk,cheap wedding dresses online

The vast majority – 86 percent – cite a lack of time as the main challenge from an employee participation standpoint. The study says, “Wellness initiatives need to be accessible to employees, aligned with an organization’s culture and integrated into employees’ daily routines – both in and out of the workplace.”

Respondents also mentioned the importance of fun in creating a successful program, with 45 percent citing fun as a reason employees aren’t getting involved. The report states, “Engagement levels are directly linked with employees’ perceived level of fun or interest in wellness initiatives. An initiative that is perceived as fun vastly increases the likelihood of employee uptake.”

Deeper Impact

Organizations are creating health and wellness initiatives with the best of intentions – to help employees improve their health, get sick less often, and spend less money on expensive health care costs. But employees don’t seem interested in participating in these programs long term. The most popular programs, according to the study, were one-off health assessments and screenings, which would do little to improve employee engagement levels – or help employees develop healthier behavior over time.

Nevertheless, four out of five respondents (86 percent) said they are working to establish long-term improvements in employee health behavior. Behavior change is a slow process that requires repetition, and over half of respondents (57 percent) believe that it takes between 61 and 120 days to develop more healthy behaviors. “Wellness initiatives need to run long enough to give employees the best chance at creating sustainable behavioral change.”

To sum it up, the report reveals overworked employees who don’t have time for long-term initiatives that companies are trying to create in order to drive up low employee engagement, the cause of which is stress and overworking. It seems the real solution here may be better management and investment in human capital to ensure employees aren’t overburdened in the first place.