conducted between 2015 and 2016 by HealthFitness and The Connell Group shows
that while wellness program participants have greater satisfaction with wellness
programs and perceive themselves as healthier, nearly 60% of employees are
According to the
survey, these people express interest in engaging with wellness programs but
ultimately refrain from doing so. The researchers point
to several barriers that prevent these people from participating in their
employers’ wellness programs.
The biggest barrier respondents reported was a lack of
information (69%). In some cases, the proportion of employees aware of
programs’ availability is 30% lower than the proportion of employers indicating
they offer the program, the survey found.
Non-participants also said that they wish to interact with
coworkers sharing similar interests and even health risks, but 53% of them say
there are cultural barriers preventing them from engaging, such as inconvenience
and their employers’ lack of support for their participation.
Personalization of these programs
was also a demand, with 75% of participants saying “a personal touch is
important in their health.” Researchers say this approach can come from “live
experts—coaches and specialists—who are credible, engaging, and easy to
access and provide one-on-one support for their specific needs.”
Moreover, the survey found that non-participants
and participants seek a “customizable program” and that these programs’ “ability
to meet their specific needs will influence their decisions to start and continue
participating, respectively.” The study also indicates that an
emotional factor may enhance enrollment with 70% of participants saying their
program offering means their employer cares about them.
Participants indicated they are
likelier than non-participants to stay with their employer, refer someone to
the company and be more productive. Seventy-nine percent of participants say
they are “extremely satisfied with their employer’s program offering compared
to 41% of employee non-participants.”
“It’s clear we need to take our health, wellness and fitness
programs to a new level to continue producing results that are meaningful and
effective,” says HealthFitness president and CEO Paul Lotharius. “Employees are seeking engagement that is purposeful and multi-dimensional and
we as an industry must address these needs in our program strategy, people and
More findings can be found by downloading the latest
HealthFitness “Think Piece” online here.