Employees Don't Stay Committed to Wellness Programs

March 31, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new survey from the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America finds that employees overwhelmingly see value in wellness programs but don't stay committed to them.

According to a Guardian press release, two-thirds of all employees and 85% of those who are currently enrolled in or have participated in a wellness program in the past three years said the programs are very effective in promoting good health. However, nearly half of employees who have participated in wellness programs in the past three years admitted that their commitment trails off after just a few years.

Respondents indicated that incentives from employers could help them with their commitment. Sixty-eight percent said they believe that incentives such as cash, gifts, and extra vacation days can help them to shore up the willpower to adopt healthier behaviors such as exercising, eating properly, and quitting smoking.

The survey found that three in 10 employees either currently participate in or have participated in a wellness program in the past three years.Only 35% of employees reported that they have access to wellness programs at work, and half of those are currently enrolled in a program.

College graduates and the affluent are most likely to have participated in a wellness program in the past three years, the release said. Additionally, those with at least some college are more likely to favor health insurance covering complementary alternative medicine techniques.

Alternative techniques or practices that respondents said should be covered by insurance included:

  • Chiropractic – 72%,
  • Nutritional counseling – 71%,
  • Acupuncture – 57%,
  • Herbalism/Botanical Medicine – 49%,
  • Homeopathy – 45%,
  • Reflexology – 41%,
  • Personal Training – 41%,
  • Osteopathy – 40%,
  • Yoga – 39%, and
  • Pilates – 31%.

The survey was conducted via telephone in October 2007 and gathered responses from 473 individuals who were at least 18 years of age and said they were employed either full- or part-time.