The Circus Act of Employee Wellness

I recently came across a groupon in Vegas that was giving away 60% off liposuction at a physician’s office. Now, I could hardly believe it – but it is Vegas; anything goes!

It reminded me of some of the absurd ways we try and get our employees engaged to participate in our wellness benefits. From offering them cash, gift cards, vacations to discounts on their health insurance. We try and co-hearse them to quit smoking, to join a gym, to lose weight, to participate in the annual walk or jog-a-thons all for their benefit.

Why is it that we have to come up with creative ways to help them live better lives in and out of work?

The answer? Maybe that’s how we’ve conditioned them to respond or maybe that’s just human nature. From the time our parents started paying us to do chores around the house until we made it into the workplace we have been expecting compensation for our actions (even beyond that of salaries and vacations).  Now, we seem to have created a society of those that continue to say, “Okay, what’s in it for me.”

We’re all asking the question, “Can’t our employees just be healthy on their own without us having to create a circus tent of benefits?”

The answer is a most assuredly no. And especially during this difficult economic time when we’re all shaken up over employee retention and trying to keep our employees happy we are looking for a more creative approach to reach all diverse groups within our circles.

I’m all about benefits for employees and especially those which add value, not only to employees but also to those that help the employers bottom line. But something has to give when our employees are expecting the “next big thing” and for us to jump through hoops to maintain their loyalty and happiness to keep them from jumping ship.

I recently wrote an article in regard to Google’s college style antics on We Know Next (coming in August) and how we may be perpetuating these types of continued expectations and behaviors, if we’re not careful. Even some of Google’s employees are trying to find the “next best” place to work. I can’t help but wonder what those companies will have to come up with to keep the attention of these  folks.

What are your thoughts on this?

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