Benefits & Compensation News

What 59% of employees have to say about wellness programs

Employers get wellness programs. They know wellness initiatives are a great way to stymie skyrocketing health care cost increases. But what do employees think about them?

According to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index, employees are fans of their employer-sponsored wellness programs.

Fifty-nine percent say participating in their company’s wellness program provides them with more energy to be productive at work. Another 51% said wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better.

The index surveys workers at businesses with between 10 and 1,000 workers. This past index surveyed 1,103 employees between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7.

Other findings:

  • 45% agree an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation
  • 43% said wellness programs led them to miss fewer days of work
  • 17% said their employer offers contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement account for participation
  • 16% said their employer provides gift certificates or other discounts, and
  • 10% said their employer rewards participants with additional paid time off.

The survey also showed the top three ways employees prefer to be encouraged to participate in wellness programs: encouragement by management, lower health insurance costs and time to participate during the workday.

Expert: 3 ways to get the biggest bang for your buck

How can companies get the most out of their wellness programs? Enter Michael Levy, a personal trainer and owner of Online Rewards, a provider of incentive and loyalty marketing programs.

Levy’s company has helped firms like State Farm Insurance and Blue Cross Blue Shield get their wellness program up and running successfully, and he’s offered up three secrets he says will help employers get the biggest bang for their wellness buck:

  1. Dish out incentives. As much as we all wish it was, a long, healthy life is not enough to motivate employees to participate in your wellness program, Levy says. Employers need to offer tangible rewards that are tailored to the pay grade of the recipient — like gift cards, travel vouchers and electronics. And a combination of incentives tends to work best, he says.
  2. Keep targets short-term. To keep employees interested, incentives/rewards must be delivered frequently. That means weekly or monthly — not annually. Small, monthly rewards that lead to a large annual award work best, according to Levy.
  3. Create multiple touch points. The program needs to be kept top of mind with employees. So creating a wellness website is crucial to success, Levy says. It should articulate goals, track progress and celebrate successes.
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