The Employee Health and Wellness Program
Code of Conduct
As wellness programs and strategies continue to evolve, some things should remain constant. By intent, all wellness programs should be designed in a way to improve health and do no harm. While it sounds simple, there is emerging research and evidence to suggest that some practices employed by the wellness industry may actually be doing the opposite, placing employees in situations that are more harmful than beneficial to their health.
Excessive penalties for non-participation, screening tests and frequencies which ignore national guidelines, or providing programs that result in weight-cycling are a few examples of practices that can not only result in physical harm but could also have serious psychological and financial consequences that undermine the good work for which the programs were designed.
By contrast, there are many vendors in the wellness space that provide products and services that adhere to a "do no harm" philosophy. This sparked a discussion among four industry leaders about developing a code of conduct, an industry promise to continue to improve people’s lives at work.
Having collectively worked with thousands of organizations on their wellness strategies, the initial group of Ryan Picarella, Al Lewis, Rosie Ward and Jon Robison proposed a minimum set of standards that will help us live up to the expectation that employees and employers have for wellness programs. In this rapidly evolving and controversial period for our industry, it is timely to set a standard that ensures we continue to innovate in a way that makes employees happy, healthy and hopeful.
After hundreds of professionals provided input to the original draft, the work group has recently expanded to include highly regarded collaborators with perspectives from direct administration of programs for employees (Chelle Pfiffner), brokers (David Contorno), wellness vendors (Dan Keith and Claire Kelbaugh), non-wellness vendors (Rick Abbott) health plans (Tami Ireland), and wellness law/compliance (Barbara Zabawa). We look forward to future expansions and creation of working groups with specific interests, to create specific variations of The Code applicable to those and other segments. For instance, the broker/consultant and vendor segments might include required disclosure of perceived conflicts of interest or commissions, while the health promotion professional variation might include a commitment to demonstrate competencies and familiarity with best practices.
We propose a Code of Conduct that employers, vendors, consultants, brokers and health promotion professionals can adopt.
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