Wellness isn’t working. My good friend, Mim Senft of Motivity Partnerships, was kind enough to share some of her findings. Think of the time we spend discussing with clients the importance of developing appropriate wellness strategies with the associated myriad of potential benefits. We research the various providers, negotiate pricing and develop implementation strategies. But medical spend in this country is not going down. Companies are seeing a big increase in prescription drug claims. More people are pre-diabetic. One could say there is an epidemic.

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What went wrong? No matter how good the program, tools or resources, there are two foundational pieces that need to be in place to drive a successful program:

1) Visible leadership by the C-suite, middle management and peer to peer.

2) A clear message from the company that they care about a culture of health.

Despite all the noise about individual choice, we do care about what leaders and our team at work value. We want to be connected to what those around us are involved in doing. That’s why programs where leaders show up and participate have such a great impact. That’s why it’s important to know who the “unofficial” leaders are in your organization, the go-to people on your team. They should be part of the strategy to support engagement and positive change. Perhaps, we should refer to them as the wellness mavens.

The other foundational piece is clear, consistent and ongoing communications about the company valuing a culture of health. In our information-overloaded world, a few emails and posters about a few select programs will not get the message across. An integrated communications strategy that is focused on reaching all the cultures within your culture can make a difference in how employees engage in wellness programs.

Do your company’s leaders visibly support a culture of health? Do employees know that it’s important to the company? If so, congratulations. If not, you may want to evaluate what changes can be made to make your wellness programs more successful.

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