Wellness program efforts appear to have caught on as the vast majority of U.S. companies are currently offering at least one wellness initiative, according to recent findings in the Workplace Wellness Trends: 2017 Survey Results. Nine out of 10 organizations to be exact, which is an impressive number, but so is their rationale for doing so.
Nearly three-quarters of businesses offer wellness programs primarily to improve overall workforce health and wellbeing. From this survey it’s clear there has been a transition away from merely trying to control or reduce health costs with wellness offerings. This is further evidenced by wellness efforts that now extend beyond physical health to address community and social health, employee growth and mental health.
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The 2017 Survey Results indicate that attention and resources, including a sole budget devoted to wellness are being utilized by 65% of organizations and about half of those companies expect their budgets to increase in the next two years. They use both internal and external resources to assist in their wellness operations. Approximately three-quarters use benefits staff to help run the program, followed by HR professionals (49%) and externally, programs most commonly tap benefits consultants (49%) and insurance providers (49%).
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Organizations recognize that their workforces are diverse and are making it a priority to provide a wide-range of wellness initiatives, including:
- Screening and treatment for free or discounted flu shots (83%), health screenings (66%), smoke-free work environments (65%), and health risk assessments (61%).
- Fitness and nutrition offerings with competitions or challenges (57%), healthy food choices (49%) and health coaching (48%).
- Community and social health events such as charity drives (67%), onsite celebrations (58%), volunteer projects (56%), and blood drives (53%).
- Mental and behavioral health programs such as EAPs (85%) mental health coverage (67%) and services for substance abuse (58%).
- Employee growth and purpose efforts such service recognition (72%), tuition reimbursement (66%), and internal job openings (61%).
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Sustained interest in wellness initiatives makes sense as organizations look for ways to demonstrate worker value and retain top talent. Many companies therefore plan to increase the emphasis of their offerings over the next two years through wellness communication (58%), financial education (47%), and health literacy (44%).
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The development of these programs will continue to benefit both employees and employers as workplaces change and reshape to meet the needs of dynamic workforces. For more information on the impact of wellness programs on improving employee health and tactics you can employ to improve them, our infographic, Wellness Programs in 2017 explores that.
Source: Benefits Magazine. Employers Emphasize Worker Well-Being. August 2017. PP8-10.