Participants’ Perspectives of a Worksite Wellness Program Using an Outcome-Based Contingency Approach
Worksite wellness programs in the U.S. are increasingly common. Social workers in healthcare and administration should familiarize themselves with the various wellness programs and the impact they have on workers and organizations. This study examined a worksite wellness outcome-based contingency approach (WWOCA). This approach bases individual employee health insurance discounts on each participant achieving biometric goals. A mixed-method explanatory approach was used. Quantitative health measures of participants (n = 397) and six focus group discussions (n = 45) were conducted using a convenience sample. Results indicate that over half of the participants met their work-based health goals (i.e., body measurements at the average or excellent rankings) with increases from 56% in year one to 87% in year two and 90% by year three. However, focus group participants expressed a high sense of failure in relation to health goal attainment, frustration with loss of the financial incentive, and stress and anxiety linked to negative feedback about their body measurements. These results suggest that many participants’ self-worth was negatively impacted when participants had difficulty conforming to worksite wellness standards. Social workers in healthcare and administration will need to advocate for worksite wellness programs that promote human dignity and avoid discriminating based on employee health status.
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