Participants averaged less than a pound lost in five years. I call that water weight. The report can't seriously conclude that that pace of weight loss demonstrates active participation in a wellness initiative, can it?
But I understood the low engagement numbers, and the weight loss, better once I learned that employers aren't regularly evaluating their programs based on cost effectiveness.
Specifically, of those employers implementing weight loss programs, only half had evaluated the effectiveness of their programs formally and only 2% reported actual savings estimates. None had formally evaluated their programs on cost effectiveness, RAND report stated.
How can a wellness program ebb and flow with the specific needs of its workforce if it is not regularly being analyzed and tracked for its effectiveness and ROI? It can't.
2. Inaccurate data
Not bothering to use the data you have is one problem, but having poor data is just as bad.
This week, The New York Times reported on a few of the first comparative studies that evaluate the accuracy of the fitness and activity-tracking devices called "accelerators." These monitors and calorie counters (think Fitbit and Nike + FuelBand) are motivating users to move more by using standing desks and distant parking spaces. But the collection of comparative research on these devices shows they aren't accurately tracking user activities.