Employers Increasingly Offer Wellness Programs

April 3, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - More employers continue to start wellness programs, and the majority of organizations with programs currently in place are looking to invest and expand.

According to the 2011 Willis Health and Productivity Survey by Willis North America’s Human Capital Practice, 60% of respondents indicated they have some type of wellness program, an increase of 13% from 2010. Additionally, employers are not scaling back—58% indicate they plan to expand their wellness initiatives with added programs or resources. Of those with a wellness program, 40% reported they have an “intermediate” program in place. 

The most common types of wellness programs being offered by respondents include: physical activity programs (53%), tobacco cessation programs (49%) and weight management programs (45%).   

Although 29% of survey respondents consider themselves to be a global organization, only 15% indicate they have implemented a wellness program for their global employees.   

Forty-three percent of employers said the leading barrier to measuring success was difficulty in determining the influence of wellness compared with other factors impacting health care costs. Insufficient data and not enough staffing/time remain common barriers to measuring success.   

The survey also revealed that 51% of respondents reported promoting work/life balance programs within their worksite wellness program. After employee assistance programs, flexible start/end times are the most common offering of work life balance program options, reported by 81% of respondents. The survey also found helping employees achieve work/life balance is reported to be a significant concern by 18% of respondents, and somewhat of a concern by 54%.   

The survey results are here.