Many Canadian Employers Don’t Follow Through on Wellness Strategies

May 4, 2011 ( - While 96% of Canadian employers have wellness initiatives or plan to introduce them, only 24% have fully implemented wellness strategies, a global survey indicates.

“WORKING WELL: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies,” released by Buck Consultants, a Xerox Company, found fewer than one in four workplace wellness programs in Canada have a strategy with multi-year goals and a documented approach to evaluate results. Among Canadian respondents, only 30% indicate that they have measured any specific outcomes from their wellness programs, compared to 37% of global respondents that have measured their outcomes.  

According to a press release, stress continues to be the top health driver of Canadian wellness programs. Improving productivity, reducing absence, and improving workforce morale and engagement are the most important objectives for these programs.  

One of the fastest-growing components of wellness plans in Canada is the health portal or Web site. Employers are increasingly using technology to provide health related information to employees. Also growing are health risk appraisals, personal health coaching or lifestyle management coaching, as well as programs that support work/life balance and address the psychosocial work environment.   

The survey found that globally, 66% of respondents have a formal wellness strategy, a significant increase from 49% in 2007. This includes strategies that are fully implemented, partially implemented, and not yet implemented. Wellness programs are most prevalent in North America, where 74% of responding employers offer them.   

Buck’s fourth annual global wellness survey analyzed responses from 1,248 organizations in 47 countries representing more than 13 million employees. 

The report can be purchased from here.