Study: How Employee Demographics Affect Wellness Engagement & Health Outcomes

We all know employees don’t come in just one size, shape or personality type. We’re all different — indeed, diversity is a key to driving an impactful workforce.

But with so many different personality types — and with certain wellness plan components dependent on telephone care — what are best practices to drive engagement and, one hopes, positive health outcomes? A recent study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine offers suggestions.

The study notes that “although the similarities between best practices guidelines and the scorecards that accompany them suggest that there is a growing understanding of the factors that best predict program success, there is a dearth of evidence concerning which factors are most important and whether these factors vary within or between organizations. Moreover, there is little evidence to demonstrate whether best practices components predict program success when age or sex diversity between or within organizations is considered.” Results include:

  • “Considerable differences were found in how age and sex impacted typical EHM evaluation metrics.”
  • “Cash incentives for the health assessment were associated with more risk reduction for men than for women.”
  • “Providing either a noncash or a benefits-integrated incentive for completing the health assessment, or a noncash incentive for lifestyle management, strengthened the relationship between age and risk reduction.”

The conclusions are straightforward:

  • “One size does not fit all companies when it comes to how select best practices components can influence employee engagement and successful health improvement.”
  • “Best practices may work best when they create inertia for select groups.”
  • ”¬†Although there is much to be enthused about concerning how best practices components operate and how this knowledge can be applied to [employee health management] programs, there are many questions that need answers before we can confidently establish cause-and-effect relationships between best practices and program outcomes.”