Just before the holidays I had the pleasure of meeting with EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic and her staff. I was there with a large employer’s government affairs leader and the chair of a national trade association to share evidence of positive outcomes of health and wellbeing initiatives.
We spoke with Ms. Lipnic about the clear distinction between a “wellness program” that simply offers an incentive for completing a health assessment and biometric screening versus a comprehensive wellbeing initiative that provides personalized support across the varied segments of the employee or member population; from support for managing health risk factors (exercise, nutrition, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, weight, etc.) to support for people with chronic conditions or behavioral health needs. Credible research has shown organizations that use more best practices are more likely to see positive health and financial outcomes. The HERO Health & Wellbeing Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© is a validated survey that outlines key best practices and allows organizations of all sizes to benchmark their current health and wellbeing initiatives against best practices and other organizations.
The EEOC will be reviewing and reconsidering its wellness regulations in light of wellness research and within the context of the current and evolving political climate. The timeline for any updates is uncertain at this time. What is clear is that employers will need to lead the charge and champion the value of wellbeing for their employees and businesses. And those employers that embrace the opportunity can build on the foundation of best practices validated by solid research.