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Wellness program participation

Wednesday February 11, 2015 Written by  Society for Human Resource Management
Wellness programs and flexible work arrangements are two of the most popular employee benefits offered by organizations.

According to the results of the Strategic Benefits survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), about three-quarters of organization (76 per cent) offered some type of wellness program to employees in 2014. This represents an increase from 70 per cent in 2012.

The survey also found about one-half of organizations (52 per cent) provided employees with the option to use flexible work arrangements, such as teleworking, in 2014.

“More and more employers are leveraging wellness programs and flexible work arrangements as part of the total rewards package that they offer employees,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at SHRM. “Offering wellness programs and flexible work arrangements can be an effective way to recruit and retain talented employees.”

Additionally, employee participation in these programs is increasing. However, employee participation in flexible work arrangements is progressing at a slower rate than wellness programs. Fifty-three per cent of organizations indicated employee participation in wellness programs increased last year, whereas just under one-third (31 per cent) reported increased employee participation in flexible work arrangements.

And although about one-half of organizations provided employees with the option to use flexible work arrangements, only one-third (33 per cent) reported that the majority of their employees were actually allowed to use them.

“It is important to understand the obstacles that may be impacting employee participation rates in flexible work arrangements,” said Esen. “There needs to be support from management and leadership in order for more employees to participate in flexible work arrangements.”

The survey also looked at the effectiveness of wellness programs. Key findings include:

  • More than two-thirds or organizations (72 per cent) found wellness programs were somewhat or very effective in reducing health care costs in 2014.
  • About three-quarters of organizations (78 per cent) rated their wellness programs as somewhat or very effective in improving the physical health of employees.
  • About two-thirds or organizations (67 per cent) offered wellness incentives or rewards for participating in wellness programs. The majority of organizations (85 per cent) indicated that wellness incentives were somewhat or very effective in increasing employee participation in wellness programs.

SHRM surveyed 380 respondents from a randomly selected sample of its members throughout the United States. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.

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