Is Your Company Considering Fining Employees for Being Overweight?

Which Works Better for Wellness-The Carrot or the Stick?

Which works better for employee wellness programs--the carrot or the stick?Austin, Texas Many companies are now taking the stance of punishing employees with fines for being overweight or for continuing to smoke.

Do you think this is a good idea?

CVS, the drug store chain, is fining employees $600 if they fail to report their weight, body fat and cholesterol levels to the company. Michelin, the tire company is assessing up to $1,000 in additional fees that its employees could pay if they have waistlines more than 40 inches for males and 35 inches for females.

According to an article in Washington Square News, both “these companies originally held voluntary and non-binding action plans that would reward their employees additional credit toward deductibles, but giving power to the people was not a triumphant success.”

Although I am a huge proponent in the carrot approach, I realize it only works with the majority of employees.  Offering incentives, peer pressure, rewards, training, coaching and education are critical components of any wellness program.

However, after everything else has been exhausted, those still not motivated by this approach may need to be punished.

According to a Nobel Prize-winning research, people are more afraid of losing something than gaining a reward.  They studied gamblers and risk–and noticed that “when the potential for loss is there, suddenly people prefer to take a risk.”

That is, when faced with losing money for being obese, then, and only then, will certain people feel compelled to lose weight.  Nobody likes to lose money.

The pain of losing money is worse to most people than the gain from any type of incentive program.

Should punishment be the tool to use for everyone?

Not at all.

Threats of loss cause poor employee morale.

But after everything else has been exhausted- then, and only then, is it time to consider bringing in the Big Guns–Threat of Loss.

Let’s hope that it doesn’t come down to that for your own employee wellness program.

Here’s to a healthier tomorrow–starting today!

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points-including over 800 different promotional pedometer styles in all price ranges.

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New Study Shows That Employees That Exercise Earn 9% More

employees that exercise earn 9% more than those that do not exerciseAustin, Texas: A new study published in the June issue of the Journal of Labor Research shows that workers who exercise regularly earn 9% higher pay on average than those who don’t.

According to the study, There are three potential explanations for the correlation between exercise and earnings:

  1. 1) Exercise leads to higher wages

  2. 2) Wage changes affect individuals’ level of physical activity

  3. 3) Other, unobserved factors cause differences in both exercise frequency and earnings.

The study, published in the Journal of Labor Research, suggests that regular exercise can have an impact on the productivity and well-being of an employee. “It is widely acknowledged that regular exercise has a beneficial impact on well-being. In addition to the positive impact on heart health, weight and on a variety of other medical issues, studies in the literature show that exercise leads to improved mental function, psychological condition and higher energy level, ” Kosteas notes.

He adds, “All three of these traits can be translated into higher earnings by increasing productivity. Besides the direct effect, exercise can have indirect positive impacts on labor market outcome by serving as a signal to potential employers that the individual is dedicated and disciplined.” Since the employer benefits from these attributes, Kosteas recommends that employers embrace sponsored exercise programs and gym memberships not only for the good of employees, but also for the bottom line.

Any firm that is not seriously promoting exercise and fitness programs are basically costing themselves money, according to this study.

Not only will you be saving money on your insurance premiums, but you will get more output from your employees, as well.  Looks like a win-win.

Start a wellness program right away to maximize the impact you can have on your employees.

A good place to start is WELCOA, the Wellness Council of America— which is chock full of resources on wellness programs.

At Wellness Incentives Plus, we have also published many articles on the Do’s and Don’ts of creating and implementing a corporate wellness program for you to read.

Do the research and start developing your own wellness program as soon as possible.

Here’s to a Healthier Workforce!

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Robert Piller is President of WellnessIncentivesPlus.com, a leading provider of custom-printed promotional items geared exclusively for wellness programs and wellness incentives. These branded gifts are ideal for wellness incentive rewards, wellness kickoff or announcement gifts or as wellness reminders. Visit WellnessIncentivesPlus.com to view thousands of wellness rewards and reminders in all price points.

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