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Supporting employee wellness

Monday April 06, 2015 Written by  WorldatWork
Workplace wellness programs and well-being initiatives are key components to improving employee health and containing rising health-care costs.
According to WorldatWork’s Total Rewards and Well-Being survey, 96 per cent of organizations support employee well-being programs and about three-quarters (74 per cent) report they plan to increase their well-being offerings or activities in the next two years.
"Successful organizations are discovering that an innovative approach to well-being goes beyond the employee's physical health," said Rose Stanley, senior practice leader with WorldatWork. "Today, we're seeing more companies create flexible work schedules, introduce financial literacy tools, offer unique child-care and elder-care assistance programs and promote stress and time management skills. All of these integrated approaches encourage a more successful and productive workforce."
The top five wellness offerings include: employee assistance programs (EAP) and referrals (81 per cent); immunizations (72 per cent); workplace safety (72 per cent); mental and/or behavioural health coverage (70 per cent); and physical fitness (69 per cent).
When asked what they would do if their organizations no longer offered employer-sponsored health care, the majority of respondents said they would still continue to offer well-being programs. If employer-sponsored health care was eliminated, 95 per cent of responding organizations would keep workplace safety programs, 92 per cent would continue to encourage time away from work and flexible schedules, and 90 per cent would preserve their EAP. 
Programs with higher drop rates include: resiliency training (29 per cent); disease management (29 per cent); mental/behavioural health coverage (27 per cent); and wellness coaching (26 per cent).
Additional highlights from the survey include:
  • Eighty-two per cent of responding organizations said employee health is a top motivator for offering well-being activities, while 78 per cent of organizations noted curbing employee medical costs was their goal for offering these programs. 
  • When comparing traditional wellness and integrated well-being approaches, those using an integrated approach showed a correlation to lower rates of employee turnover. Higher turnover rates are more common at organizations utilizing a traditional wellness approach (52 per cent) than organizations using an integrated approach to overall well-being (39 per cent). 
  • Nearly half of all organizations (49 per cent) stated they have an employee well-being strategy in place. Fifty-four per cent of those organizations have had their strategy in place for at least three years. 
Survey invitations were sent electronically to 6,484 WorldatWork members on Dec. 10, 2014. Randomly selected members had designated compensation and benefits or work-life as their primary job function in their WorldatWork member profile. The survey closed on Jan. 16 with 446 responses.

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