Is More Always Better in Designing Workplace Wellness Programs?

A Comparison of Wellness Program Components Versus Outcomes

Published in: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Volume 58, Number 10, October 2016, pages 987-993. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000848

Posted on RAND.org on April 28, 2017

by Benjamin Saul Batorsky, Christian Van Stolk, Harry H. Liu

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Objective

Assess whether adding more components to a workplace wellness program is associated with better outcomes by measuring the relationship of program components to one another and to employee participation and perceptions of program effectiveness.

Methods

Data came from a 2014 survey of 24,393 employees of 81 employers about services offered, leadership, incentives, and promotion. Logistic regressions were used to model the relationship between program characteristics and outcomes.

Results

Components individually are related to better outcomes, but this relationship is weaker in the presence of other components and non-significant for incentives. Within components, a moderate level of services and work time participation opportunities are associated with higher participation and effectiveness.

Conclusions

The "more of everything" approach does not appear to be advisable for all programs. Programs should focus on providing ample opportunities for employees to participate and initiatives like results-based incentives.

Research conducted by

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