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Management Not Educated On Value Of Wellness, Says Survey

MANASQUAN, N.J.,  January 9, 2009 — Over 50 percent of wellness executives do not believe an adequate job is being done to educate senior management and employees on the value of wellness programs.

Responding to a question in the Workplace Management Survey by the Wellness Program Management Advisor, 51.8 percent of managers said they did not believe enough was being done while 47.3 percent thought managers were doing a good job of management education.

The president of a wellness services consulting company said it "seems like wellness executives are not willing to go to senior leadership to get monies to support program evaluation and count on the vendors to report value."

"Health improvement is key, but that is our bias — in the real world return on investment or impact on medical spending the group’s rate is key to providing value," the executive continued, "seems like many program managers don’t pay enough attention to the business side of providing wellness programs."

The director of health lifestyle management for a managed care organization also did not believe enough was being done and said "I think we are doing better, most wellness managers were not trained very well to do the justification. We are getting smarter, speaking their language and meeting their needs."

"Well, the answer really is yes and no," said the manager of health risk management at an insurance broker. "It depends on the corporation," the executive continued, "those wellness managers that wear the wellness hat at all times tend to do a great job. On the other hand, those that are titled in a different way and have many other hats ... tend to put wellness on the back burner, or they only fulfill half the job."

A benefit specialist for an insurance agency responded in the negative and said there is "not enough hard data to back up the talk. More statistics showing the bottom line saved by companies who promote wellness would be great. Senior management does a lot better when they know exactly how many hours of unused sick leave accrue directly related to wellness and how much more productive their employees are."

However, while the slim majority felt not enough was being done, 47.3 percent did believe wellness managers were doing the education job.

A corporate project manager said, "I believe wellness managers are using appropriate financial reporting tools to share success and to learn. However, this is a costly investment that usually doesn’t pay off in the early years. As managers move in and out of roles within the organization it is a constant battle to educate them on the value of wellness programs."

The health and wellness manager of a medical center said an adequate job was being done. "I think we can try all we want but in the end, we cannot make anyone get on board for wellness, senior management included. No matter how good a job we do, there are still a lot of administrators who give it lip service. Maybe it’s because they have to get on board first with their own health and wellness before they are willing to commit to it at work and for their employees as well."

The benefits coordinator of a public agency said "I answered yes, but I don’t believe senior management can relate to the cost of healthcare that entry level or low level employees are faced with when insuring their families. Senior management receives a 'handsome' pay that is more than twice or three times that of a general laborer or entry personnel."

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Are wellness managers doing an adequate job educating senior management and employers about the value of the services wellness programs provide?

No: 51.8 percent
Yes: 47.3 percent
Left unanswered: 0.9 percent

Source: Workplace Management Survey, Wellness Program Management Advisor, 2008.

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Address: Wellness Programs Management Advisor, 1913 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 200, Manasquan, NJ 08736; (732) 292-1100, www.wellnessjunction.com.


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