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Wednesday, 18 February 2015 09:03

The Well-less Dilemma: Why Your Wellness Program Takes Too Much Time, Doesn’t Engage Employees and Lacks ROI

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Guest Article by Brad Cooper, MSPT, MBA, CWC, the  CEO of US Corporate Wellness


If you’ve been in the Employee Benefits or Human Resources arena for more than a few minutes, you’ve likely experienced the “Well-less Dilemma.” This is the common situation where a wellness company representative comes into your office, shows off a bunch of fancy flyers and dazzling Powerpoint slides. You’re encouraged, thinking this might actually be “the one!”  So the contract is signed, the program rolled out with great fanfare and 6 months down the road:

  1. You’re spending far too much time (which you were lacking in the first place!) managing, following up, answering questions, etc.
  2. Nobody seems to care (except for the employees who care to regularly remind you why the program stinks)
  3. Beyond a little low hanging fruit, the ROI appears to be non-existent
  4. Oh yes – and that wellness company representative with the fancy slides? She earned a promotion with a different company so you’ve been bounced between a couple of others who are filling in until they fill the role.

Sound familiar? Unfortunately it’s all too common in the growing wellness industry. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.  If you’re armed with some key knowledge, you can turn your wellness strategy into a culture enhancing, time saving, bottom line impacting, solution to all of your problems! (ok – that last one may be going a bit too far, but the first three are more than reasonable).

On March 12th, at the Mile High SHRM Total Rewards Professional Development Group meeting, I’ll have the opportunity to present the information you need to allow you to create the strategy you intended, without biting into your own schedule over the long term. Click here to register for this event.  Some of the key aspects we’ll be covering include these below and other topics:  

  • Why a “Check the Box” solution can box you into negative outcomes. We all like lists, and we understand the importance of accountability. So when a wellness program includes a checklist of items each employee must accomplish, it sounds perfect! Unfortunately, the best laid plans often fall short if we’re not extremely careful about insuring these “Point-based” approaches don’t eliminate meaningful engagement. It’s critical to remember that One Size Fits… ONE.  Point systems can be built into your wellness program, but great care must be taken to insure they are individualized. At the same time, swinging the pendulum too far can result in providing credit to anyone for anything, which then just produces carpal tunnel from all the boxes that must be checked. 
  • Hope makes for a fantastic noun but an awful verb when it comes to wellness programs, security, HIPAA compliance and more. Hope (as a noun) can be the basis behind our actions, for the pursuit of opportunities, and the reason we continue in the face of long odds. However, when it’s the basis of our strategy (verb), it will consistently fall short. If you’re looking to save time, enhance engagement and drive ROI, a specific strategy must come into play.
  • Robots ‘R Us might make for a futuristic sci-fi movie, but it can destroy the chances of an engaging wellness program strategy. If information resulted in application, we would all be eating healthy, exercising, sleeping soundly…  Unfortunately that’s clearly not the case.  An effective wellness program requires we go beyond simply information and incorporate strategies that actually help bring these into reality for our employees. By effectively combining extrinsic and intrinsic motivators, this can be done and done consistently.

Your time, budget and opportunity to enhance the lives of your team members are all limited. However, if we implement the right steps as part of our wellness program strategy, the opportunity for real change with a high return on both your time and money is not only possible – it’s expected.


Brad Cooper, MSPT, MBA, CWC is CEO of US Corporate Wellness (USCW), one of only 9 national firms to earn Full Accreditation through URAC as a Comprehensive Wellness Provider. But don’t let that scare you – as the core values of USCW is all about relationships.  If you’d like to learn more, please join us on March 12th.  If that doesn’t work with your schedule, Brad is happy to discuss your situation with you – personally.  Contact him at your convenience at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Read 5860 times Last modified on Thursday, 26 February 2015 16:58
Kristen Russell

Kristen founded Fall River Employee Benefits as the culmination of her insurance industry career as an actuary, underwriting executive & consultant. As an Assistant Vice President at Great-West Healthcare (now part of CIGNA), she managed a $1 Billion block of health insurance. She also worked as a Senior Consultant at Reden & Anders, consulting to insurance companies and large employers throughout the country. Ms. Russell received a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration in Actuarial Science, is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and achieved Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries through a rigorous nine-year series of exams.

Kristen grew up in Iowa but has lived in Colorado since 1993, currently living near our office in the Lower Highlands neighborhood near downtown Denver.  She enjoys bicycling, hiking, traveling and has a special passion for non-profit volunteering. She is married to an incredibly talented photojournalist, has two adult stepdaughters and an adorable Border Collie/Lab mix named Chaco.