More Workers See Rewards of Wellness Programs

January 30, 2013 ( Sixty-two percent of workers—up from 55% in 2011—believe workplace wellness activities are successful in improving health and reducing health risks.

According to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index, 51% of program participants say wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and another 59% say they have more energy to be productive at work as a result of their participation in employer-sponsored wellness programs.   

Nearly half (45%) of employees agree that an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation, up from 40% in 2011. Additionally, 43% of participants say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up 8% from 2011. The research found about one-third (34%) of workers still do not participate in any of the wellness programs offered by their employers.  

As wellness programs become more popular, employers are offering a variety of ways to encourage employees to participate. The survey shows the top three ways employees are encouraged by their employers to participate in wellness programs are encouragement by management (20%), lower health insurance costs to those who participate (20%) and allotted time for participation during the workday (20%, up from 9%). Thirty-six percent say their employers do not offer any encouragement to participate in wellness benefits, an improvement from the previous three years when about half of participants said their employer did nothing to encourage wellness program participation.  

Seventeen percent—up from 9% the previous year—say their employer offers contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement account; 16%—up from 12%—say their employer provides other financial incentives such as gift certificates or discounts for those who participate; and 10%—up from 6%—report their employer rewards additional paid time off from work to participants.  

The fourth quarter 2012 Principal Financial Well-Being Index report can be downloaded from