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Will Employee Health Incentives Work? Should They?

Chris Henry is writing a story of health, businesses and employees.
I could not stop myself from responding and decided my thoughts from my present patient standpoint and past small business owner belonged here too.

The fact is patients are not given enough information in my opinion.

Chris Henry, reporter says: “We all know what we should do to take better care of ourselves — eat healthier, exercise more, reduce stress (good luck on that last one). Employee wellness programs aim to get workers practicing better self care, but are they actually effective?”

Sharon, patient says:
If the velvet gloves are removed and employees are SHOWN (get patient volunteers) examples of life with different medical conditions caused by -smoking is one example- I’d guess a good percent of the present or wannabe employees might well change personal habits to reflect self preservation and to keep a good job.

If I had a small business today and included paid medical insurance for my employees, I would have a checklist for prospective employees to answer and incentives for present employees to get in the fitness lineup.

Blunt words and visual frankness works.

Years ago a good friend and 30 year smoker read a Reader’s Digest article showing photos of healthy lungs next to a chronic smoker lungs.
My friend told me he felt sickened and stopped smoking immediately.
He also showed me the article, yet I went on to smoke another 20 years or so.

Obesity is a despised condition by seemingly everyone, yet the productivity of an obese person can be double the effectiveness to the business of a ‘normal’ sized person.

I once had someone tell me I needed to get rid of one of my employees because her appearance did not reflect well on my business.

Why not?

She was fat…way fat…obese…truly a genuine tubbyette.

I told him I could not. For one thing, I liked her and she had worked for and with me too many years, since she finished school. She had also become the most productive employee I had.

The day came when she asked for another raise. She was at capacity. She was well worth a raise, no issue there.
The trouble is the way my pay scale worked I couldn’t give her one without losing money.

Therefore, to give her a well-deserved raise, I figured out new prices to her clients and I became a business with two price tiers and cost percentages within the tiers.

The reason for this little story is twofold.

1. Look beyond appearances.

2. Knowing what I know today about health issues, I would never have hired her based on her unhealthy size and lost out on getting to know a remarkable, artistically talented, kind, thoughtful individual. She became family.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/kitsap-caucus/2010/05/18/employee-wellness-programs-do-they-work/

More later…Sharon O’Hara

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