Corporate Wellness just eviscerated the proposal that employers should disclose employee weight to shareholders.
The thing about this head-scratching proposal — and if you guessed that it originated with Ron Goetzel as a way to justify the existence of wellness vendors, you get how this industry works — is that it is such a bad idea that I didn’t even have to criticize it. I merely questioned it. Just reading the questions in this article would be enough for 99.9% of CEOs to decide they want nothing whatsoever to do with it. (The other 0.1% run wellness companies.)
And no HR executive, upon reading these questions, would even dare breach the notion with the C-suite, fearing these questions would be asked and knowing these questions are unanswerable.
Further, the format of just asking questions fit Corporate Wellness needs. They were kind enough to allow me to write an article for them knowing that many vendors get apoplectic at the mere mention of my name, let alone my appearance in their widely read publication. I reciprocated this kindness by writing an unopinionated article.
By the end, though, I couldn’t hold back. In an industry known for its dumb ideas, this proposal to disclose employee health metrics to shareholders is one of the dumbest. And the dumbest of all metrics included in this proposal would be depression. In this case I did offer an opinion:
Just say no. It would be impossible to estimate the number of depressed employees in a manner accurate enough to withstand an audit. [And review by outside auditors is a key part of this proposal.] The task of determining who is depressed would involve highly intrusive and costly assessments by others, or else self-assessments that almost beg to be completed with misinformation. Many employees who are depressed don’t know it and others aren’t going to admit it.
I personally find it depressing that this proposal would even be on the table. After you read about it, I think you’ll agree.
Just when you thought it could not get any more ridiculous – it has! Thanks for blowing the whistle on this latest and perhaps ugliest foray into “wellness or else.”! – Dr. Jon
They won’t let this one go. (Most recently HERO.) They say wellness increases your stock price. As a former security analyst, I would regard any company doing wellness to increase stock price as an automatic sell signal.
What strikes me absurd about this is that there are still carriers out there that won’t release mental health utilization data because mental health is still seen as a highly protected aspect of personal health. Much like HIV status. So why this information is now proposed to be released to stockholders, seems a bit archaic and will undue years of work that many have untaken to bring the recognition of symptoms and treatment for depression to the forefront. Sigh.