Employers to Increase Focus on Employee Well-Being

More employers have adopted a broader view of workforce health that includes physical, mental, emotional and financial health, a survey finds.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. employers say that by 2018, they will focus on developing a workplace culture that supports employee well-being as a primary strategy to boost health engagement, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey.

This is a significant shift, as just one-third (34%) say it was a core strategy in 2015, the company notes.

The 2015/2016 Willis Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey of 487 U.S. employers further found that more employers have adopted a broader view of workforce health that includes physical, mental, emotional and financial health. For example, 47% include financial well-being as a key part of their overall workforce well-being strategy today, and 80% expect to include it by 2018.

Just more than half (51%) of employers say their senior leaders are visible champions of the organization’s health and well-being strategy. Just less half (49%) have built health and well-being into their employee value proposition.

More than two-thirds (70%) of employers have improved their physical environments to encourage healthy behaviors. Examples include adding healthy foods to cafeteria menus, walking paths and campus bike-sharing programs. Many employers also are tapping into the power of peer influence by recruiting local champions (62%), encouraging employees to share personal stories (61%) and enabling key influencers to spread the word through social networks (32%).

More than half (56%) of employers ask employees what’s missing from their well-being experience and what they need to succeed at work. More than one-third (35%) invite family members to participate in programs and activities.

Three-quarters of employers (74%) make online health improvement tools available to employees both at work and at home. More than half (58%) have a portal devoted exclusively to health-related information.

“Workforce health can be a true differentiator,” says Shelly Wolff, senior health care consultant at Willis Towers Watson. “As the well-being of employees and their families is enhanced, employers are better positioned to achieve bottom-line goals, improve benefit cost management and lower absenteeism. What’s more, they’ll also have happier, healthier and more engaged employees.”

A comprehensive report on findings from the 2015/2016 Willis Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey is now available for download on the Willis Towers Watson website.