Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jason Berman

Second Supervisor

Karyl Mammano

Abstract

Employer-sponsored wellness programs have emerged as programs which seek to improve overall employee health and to reduce health care costs. Integrating benefit delivery and providing employee benefits can be directly correlated to the effectiveness of a wellness program, as measured by the total return on investment for shareholders (Wolff, 2008). Additionally, effectiveness is positively impacted when the incentives provided to the population are both meaningful to them and offered immediately instead of offered to them in a delayed fashion (Wyatt, Morrato, O’Hill, Ghushchyan, & Sullivan, 2007). The purpose of this study is to understand the following: (a) How employees perceive themselves to be incentivized to participate in employer-sponsored wellness programs (b) What employees value in wellness program offerings (c) Which parts of wellness program are directly linked to reported lifestyle changes (d) If financial rewards are the most important motivators for participation in wellness programs (e) If there is a significant relationship between an employee’s distance to a company’s headquarters and their level of participation in a company sponsored wellness program (f) If employee perception of the effectiveness of local management’s leadership and promotion of wellness programs associate with their level of participation (g) What the age and gender profile of an individual is who participates in several different wellness program components. A survey instrument was constructed and distributed to 1200 randomly selected employees at a large publicly traded corporation in Upstate NY with an established wellness program. The results of the survey were analyzed in SPSS version 16.0. This study found significant differences in levels of participation depending on the employee’s proximity to headquarters. It also found significant differences in participation levels by gender in various aspects of the program. Finally, it was determined that employees who are initially motivated by monetary rewards may then be motivated by the intrinsic reward of improved physical health. Geography, gender, motivation, and communication methods are all elements that require further study to properly structure wellness programs with the intent of increasing participation, improving the overall employee health risk profile, and increasing the return on investment of company sponsored wellness programs.

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