The H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Being healthy is important for living well and achieving longevity. In the business realm, furthermore, employers want healthy employees, as these workers tend to be more productive, have fewer rates of absenteeism, and use less of their health insurance resources. This article provides an overview of corporate “wellness” efforts in the American workplace and the concomitant challenges which employers will confront in implementing these programs. Consequently, employers and managers must reflect upon wellness policies and objectives, consult with professionals, and discuss the ramifications thereof prior to implementation. The authors herein explore how employers are implementing policies that provide incentives to employees who lead “healthy” lifestyles as well as ones that impose costs on employees who lead “unhealthy” lifestyles. The distinctive contribution of this article is that it proactively explores wellness program implementation challenges and also supplies “best practices” in the modern workplace, so employers can be better prepared when they promulgate wellness policies, and then take practical steps to help their employees become healthier and thereby help to reduce insurance costs. The article, moreover, addresses how wellness policy incentives—in the form of “carrots” as well as penalties—in the form of “sticks” could affect employees, especially “non-healthy” employees, as well as employers, particularly legally. Based on the aforementioned challenges, the authors make practical recommendations for employers and managers, so that they can fashion and implement wellness policies that are deemed to be legal, ethical, and efficacious.
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