PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of introducing an involuntary wellness program (IWP) on employee attitudes and willingness to participate.Design/methodology/approachThe paper analyzes responses to a survey of office workers employed by a US education and media company when the existing wellness program was replaced by a new IWP.FindingsIt’s estimated that two out of three Americans are now overweight – and that’s bad for business. Having a fit and healthy workforce not only benefits the individual, it also means less time off sick, lower costs and better organizational performance. Firms that encourage a “wellness culture” are showing that they care about their employees – and can expect a payoff in terms of morale, motivation and productivity. What’s harder to predict is whether wellness can be made compulsory – and if compulsory, whether it still delivers a “win-win” result.Practical implicationsThe study indicates aspects that may require particular care when introducing an IWP to ensure that employees appreciate the health benefits of this approach rather than joining the program for purely economic reasons.Social implicationsIt provides an insight into the effects of expanding health insurance plan wellness incentives under the US Affordable Care Act of 2010.Originality/valueThis paper aims to raise the question of whether individuals can be incentivized to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Human Resource Management International Digest – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2016
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