In her incisive Redesigning Wellness interview with Julian Reif (principal investigator of the Illinois Workplace Wellness Study), Jen Arnold elicits answers to controversial questions like how the research team defined “comprehensive program” and why they believe their randomized study design “cancels out” most previous wellness program study findings.
Thanks Jen (and thank you for the shout-outs), and thank you, Julian Reif.
Essential listening for wellness leaders who care about results. Click below to go to the podcast episode page:
198: Research on the Effectiveness of Traditional Wellness Programs with Julian Reif, Assistant Professor of Finance and Economics at the University of Illinois
New study findings from the University of Illinois confirm that an employee wellness program doesn’t improve health or healthcare costs.
Here’s what will happen next:
- Wellness critics will argue that wellness programs must cease at once.
- Wellness profiteers will, once again, falsely claim that the studied program was atypical and that the researchers failed to report on measures such as mental health, energy levels, quality of life, or job satisfaction.
Here’s what should happen next:
- We should be prepared to accept, based on a growing body of evidence, that typical wellness programs don’t deliver on their promise.
- We should collaborate with employees to figure out how we can effectively support their wellbeing.
Research should be leveraged to improve employee wellbeing strategies. Circling the wagons around the status quo or interpreting studies simply as a yay/nay on employee wellbeing are both unproductive.
See the abstract/article:
A study of the BJ’s Wholesale Club employee wellness program attracted a lot of attention in the media, but the most important facts about the study were overlooked.
“The model aims to answer the question: what is the effect of offering an individual the opportunity to participate in a wellness program?”
— From the study’s supplement (eMethods 3. Statistical Analysis)
Facty Fact 1: Worksites, Not Workers, Were Randomized
The BJ’s study was not primarily an evaluation of participation outcomes: Continue reading »