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.