An easy way to boost the number of men involved in wellness activities is to design programs around sports themes. The NFL playoffs, holiday bowl games, and the Super Bowl are great opportunities to sponsor single events or month-long campaigns. Some ideas:
Let’s go south of the equator to the state of Victoria in Australia, where a small manufacturer of timber and aluminum windows/doors improved productivity as well as remarkably reduced high-risk chronic disease, absenteeism, turnover, and injury. As of 2013, their estimated 3-year ROI was $1,226,743 (Aus).
The Victorian Department of Health (DH) supported this initiative as part of their extensive portfolio of services. Desiree Terrill works for EACH Health Promotion, funded by DH to improve the health and well-being of Victorians in the Maroondah municipality. “Peter Ruzyla (EACH CEO) and Maggie Palmer (EACH Health Promotion Manager) task us with finding unique partnership opportunities among Australian worksites. We look at the settings in which employees operate, then dedicate resources to target specific health and productivity outcomes based on the 2010 World Health Organisation Healthy Workplace framework.”
An unfortunate side effect of best practice, paint-by-numbers wellness programming is the dearth of experiments occurring in the industry. Wellness vendors squeezed by consultants reading off a checklist of me-too services can’t afford to stray off script because margins are so tight. The result is a bland landscape of programs with eerily similar online wellness platforms at the core. And while each vendor claims to be different, better, more effective, a check under the hood reveals greater differences in marketing than in actual services between one provider and the next or the next.
If these same yet different services were actually enhancing health, boosting productivity, and keeping a lid on healthcare expense, there would be no need to experiment. But outside a handful of states, primarily in the western US, overall health and quality of life aren’t improving in any measurable way. Unless your organization’s wellness program is the rare exception, you probably have a long way to go as well.