‘Integrated’ Well-Being Programs Yield Better Results

A wellness program that has more components and is more integrated with a company’s culture produces higher health benefit cost savings.

‘Integrated’ well-being programs produced more positive results for employers than did traditional wellness programs, according to a study by WorldatWork.

Supporting workers both at the office and beyond can have positive results for an employer in terms of increased productivity, engagement levels and employee satisfaction, as well as positive changes in employee behaviors. This differs from organizations that limit employee well-being to more traditional wellness offerings with the sole purpose of lowering health care costs, WorldatWork says in its survey report, “Total Rewards and Well-Being.”

A well-being scale was developed based on answers to key questions in the survey. Critical issues considered in the scoring continuum include:

  • Number and types of well-being programs offered—42 points possible, programs considered innovative were allotted additional points over some traditional programs;
  • Eligibility for well-being programs—6 points possible;
  • Organizational strategy when it comes to employee well-being—5 points possible;
  • The culture of well-being within the organization—4 points possible;
  • Balance of programs offered—4 points possible;
  • Organizational support for employees when it comes to defining a strong sense of self or purpose through beliefs, principles, values and ethical judgments—3 points possible;
  • Senior management’s view of well-being—3 points possible;
  • Use of well-being in attraction of new employees—1 point possible;
  • Well-being communication—1 point possible; and
  • Line managers and supervisors authorized to support employees when participating in the well-being programs offered—1 point possible.

The maximum number of points possible is 70. Organizations scoring between 1 and 34 on the continuum are considered to have “traditional wellness” programs, while those scoring between 35 and 70 have “integrated well-being” programs.

The study found employers with integrated well-being programs were more likely to report an extremely positive or positive effect of the program on their health care costs (73%) than were employers with traditional wellness programs. Likewise, employers with integrated well-being programs reported more positive effects from their programs on employee engagement (80% vs. 54% of employers with traditional wellness programs), disability costs (60% vs. 38%), employee satisfaction (77% vs. 68%) and employee turnover (48% vs. 37%).

The survey shows 96% of organizations support employee well-being programs, and nearly three-quarters (74%) report they plan to increase their well-being offerings or activities in the next two years. Eighty-two percent of responding organizations said employee health is a top motivator for offering well-being activities; while 78% of organizations noted curbing employee medical costs was their goal for offering the programs.

The survey report is online here.