Organizational Behavior In the News
This article “Coming Soon to a Workplace Near You: ‘Wellness or Else’” published on New York Times discussed the phenomenon raised by Obama Care that an increasing number of U.S. companies utilize financial incentives as a tool to encourage employees to participate in workplace wellness programs, which draws public attention to the issue of fairness in the workplace.
Active company executives value the wellness programs as improving employees’ health and hence improving productivity both at home and at work. This type of companies tends to use financial rewards to encourage participation. On the other hand, some companies chose to use financial penalties when employees incline to participate in the wellness programs. The very opposite ways companies use to encourage participation in those mandatory wellness programs will likely increase the gap between the health costs for the employees in the future. This increasing gap will lead to a greater issue of lower employee satisfaction and loyalty to the organization.
For the companies using financial rewards, there is no guarantee that employees’ productivity will increase after participating in the wellness programs. Employees may join wellness programs as completing assigned tasks and because there is no penalty applied we could suspect possible inconsistency of their participations. In another words, financial rewards may not serve as an effective motivation to all of the employees. Employees who consistently go to the gym and prefer organic foods are potential active participants and will likely value the company for offering financial rewards. Other employees who come from a background that has less concern for wellness programs would not value the financial rewards that much and thus will be less motivated by these offerings.
On the other hand, companies using financial penalties for employees who opt-out from these...