How to Overcome Employee Resistance to Your Health and Wellness Program

BY Lucy Fang
Jul 31, 2021

Employee health and wellness rewards programs are incredibly popular. The majority of businesses have some sort of wellness program for their employees. However, in many cases, there may be some resistance to your wellness rewards program from your employees. Here are some common reasons employees may resist your health program and what you can do to overcome their issues. 

Employee Exhaustion

Issue 1: Exhaustion. It is common for employees to feel tired, stressed, and exhausted both mentally and physically. As a result, the self-care necessary to maintain health and wellness is often overlooked. An employee wellness program may feel like the company is trying to take away valuable employee free time just so the company can save money on health care costs, 

Solution: Avoid mentioning the benefits the company will reap and focus on the benefits your employees will enjoy from a healthier lifestyle.

Lack of Participation From Management

Issue 2: Upper management doesn’t participate in the health program. This can cause employees to follow management’s example. 

Solution: Lead by example. Make sure it is impressed on your managers that health and wellness is a priority for the entire company, not just lower-level staff. Consider providing incentives that are tailored to your managers as well as employees to encourage participation. 

You can make participation more fun for everyone by organizing an event, such as office Olympics.


Issue 3: The program only focuses on specific health issues. Many wellness programs will only focus on issues like smoking, high blood sugar, obesity, and such. This can make employees who struggle with those issues feel singled out in a negative way, and on the flip side, it can make employees who don’t have those issues feel left out of the opportunity to earn rewards for getting healthy. 

Solution: Take a holistic approach to company health. Everyone can be healthier and everyone should have the opportunity. Additionally, keep mental health in mind as well. The body is a complex system and every part needs care for peak performance.

Reward Problems

Issue 4: The reward provided is inconvenient or unappealing. If the rewards for the program are too difficult to redeem or aren’t valued by your employees, they will be less motivated to participate in your program. 

Solution: Provide a variety of rewards tailored to your company’s demographics to boost engagement.

Embarrassment & Fear

Issue 5: Embarrassment and fear of judgment. Health can be a touchy subject for many people. It is very common for even healthy people to feel self-conscious about their physical capabilities and bodies. 

Solution: Encouraging a buddy, partner, or coach can help employees feel like they are not alone. It can also help to reinforce that their health issues will be kept confidential. Another thing worth considering is bringing in people who can talk about how a healthy lifestyle can look different for different people. This can help decrease feelings of being judged by allowing 

Reassure your employees that the company will not discourage them from their current health routine. You are simply providing the employees an opportunity for a health screening and fun office programs as a guide to a healthy lifestyle on the company’s dime.

If you are looking for ways to improve or start a health and wellness program, All Digital Rewards can help! As leading health and wellness program creators and implementers, our team at All Digital Rewards will design a strategy tailored to your employees to boost health through engagement and lower company costs. To learn more about how All Digital Rewards can build a successful program for you, call 866-415-7703 or click the “Schedule a Demo” button at the bottom of the page!