Diving Deep Into ... Workplace Wellness

Author’s note: This blog post is part of an occasional series called “Diving Deep Into …” In each post in the series, we explore a topic beyond just the surface, looking at the trending articles, the people engaged with it and the media outlets covering it. Past topics include HR big data, HR technology and employee engagement. Today we continue with workplace wellness. We use SocialEars HR to do the analysis.

Workplace wellness is something that matters to all of us. We all want to be healthy, and nobody wants to pay exorbitant health care costs. And, of course, healthier employees are happier and more productive.

Workplace wellness seems like a no-brainer on the surface, but it’s a bit trickier when you get into the details. How much should — or can — employers do to encourage participation? What are the ideal components of a wellness program? How much of wellness is employees’ responsibility? And to what degree should the government encourage (or even mandate) wellness programs?

These are just a few of the questions surrounding workplace wellness, which has been a trending topic, especially with PPACA (Obamacare) and the federal government recently proposing regulations that could help wellness programs grow and become more widespread. Read further to learn about some of the content that has helped drive the trend over the past three months, as well as about key social influencers who have been authoring and sharing content about wellness, and media outlets that have been covering the topic during the same time period. SocialEars HR software was used to assemble all this information. 

The Content

For any HR topic, SocialEars HR shows the most widely shared
content on social channels during any time frame you choose.
Below are some of the most-shared workplace wellness articles, and their main points.

1. Is it Time to Re-Examine Workplace Wellness ‘Get Well Quick’ Schemes?, Health Affairs Blog, by Al Lewis and Vik Khanna

Main point(s): Large self-insured companies pay workers an average of $460 per year in worksite wellness programs, but the wellness industry consistently mis-measures and overstates the direct healthcare cost savings. Companies instead need to reallocate their wellness dollars from “get well quick” schemes to the more challenging, but more rewarding, task of creating a culture of wellness.

2. Employers Embrace Wellness Trends to Save Money and Improve Mental Fitness, Blogging4Jobs, by Lisa Bonner 

Main point(s): It makes sense for employers to embrace wellness trends. Doing so helps combat escalating healthcare costs, plus wellness activities often improve employee engagement and retention.

3. Factors to Consider When Offering Preventive Health Screenings, Human Resource Executive, by Carol Harnett 

Main point(s): This column is a discussion between the author and Bob Merberg,
the employee health and wellness manager for Paychex, about the challenges HR executives face when research questions the validity of employers’ preventive screening practices. Merberg notes that while there are benefits to screening, there are also risks, and argues that many companies are advocating screening on a too-frequent basis that is not evidence-based. Ultimately, he says HR leaders should be alert customers when it comes to preventive screening programs, and turn to the guidance of experts such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and then monitor the results.

4. Wellness Programs Get Booster Shot From Feds, Human Resource Executive, by Tom Starner

Main point(s): A joint proposal from federal agencies would increase caps starting in 2014 on employee incentives for employer-based wellness incentives, without specifying or limiting the types of wellness programs employers can offer. Wellness experts says the rules would make it easier for companies to get serious about wellness in their efforts to cut healthcare costs.

5. Regulating Wellness, SHRM.org, by Joanne Sammer

Main point(s): Like HRE in the preceding article, SHRM covered proposed federal wellness regulations, noting that the new PPACA regulations would bring together and expand on existing regulations, giving employers more guidance as wellness programs expand and become more widespread.

6. The Chemistry of Employee Retention and Engagement, HR Ringleader, by Trish MacFarlane

Main point(s): The workplace needs chemistry to keep employees engaged and energized on the job. Increasing dopamine levels is important. Companies can encourage this by providing foods rich in dopamine like fruit; by making available high-protein snacks, as protein has an amino acid needed to stimulate dopamine production; and giving time to have physical activity.

What you can do with this information:
• Improve your knowledge
• Share it (good for building social influence)
• Use it to author better content on the topic
• Link to it, expand your content’s reach and associate your content with good content (we call this topicjacking)
• Comment on it

The People

SocialEars HR shows the
top influencers (by topic)
during a specified time.
The social influencers who have been engaged with workplace wellness the past three months include:

- William Tincup Co-host of the DriveThruHR Internet radio show and the CEO of Tincup & Co., William is a consultant, a leading social influencer with more than 160,000 Twitter followers, and a popular blogger.

- Dave Ryan Dave is the director of HR for Mel-O-Cream Donuts and also has a popular blog, the HR Official.

- Fran Melmed Fran is an HR consultant specializing in workplace wellness and healthcare consumerism. Her article “13 Easy and (Mostly) Low-Cost Employee Wellness Changes for 2013” just missed making our list of most-shared content.

- Jessica Miller-Merrell Jessica is an author, speaker, HR professional and social media expert with more than 100,000 Twitter followers. 

- Jennifer Benz Jennifer is the chief strategist and founder of Benz Communications, and specializes in employee benefits, health care and strategic HR communication. She has a popular blog that covers wellness-related topics.

- David Ballard David is a senior non-profit executive whose interests include employee well-being and organizational excellence, health promotion and wellness initiatives, talent management, training and development, work-life resources and more.

What you can do with this information:
• Reach out to them with targeted PR
• Build your network
• Develop valuable relationships/partnerships

SocialEars HR shows the
media outlets covering
a particular topic during a
specified time frame.

The Media Outlets

 The media outlets that have covered workplace wellness the
 past three months include:

 - HealthCare Consumerism Solutions
 - Insurance Newscast
 - Healthcare Daily Data Bytes
 - Employee Benefit Adviser
 - Employee Benefit News
 - Progressive Grocer
 - BenefitsPro.com
 - Fast Company
 - HR.com eBulletin

 What you can do with this information:
 - Traditional PR and media relations activities


 Workplace wellness programs are here to stay, especially as average lifespans continue  to increase and more and more people work into their 70s and 80s.  (For an interesting  take on the aging workforce, check out “How Companies Must Adapt for an Aging  Workforce”). Finding programs that work for both the budget and for employees will be  vital for companies as we move deeper into the 21st century.

Post written by HRmarketer / SocialEars HR team member Eric Anderson.

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