U.S. Businesses Spend More on Wellness Programs, But Most Don’t Measure Results
NEW YORK -- Despite spending more on employee wellness programs in 2010, only 37 percent of U.S. employers actually measure their program’s effectiveness, a global survey released today indicates.
“WORKING WELL: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies,” released by Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company (NYSE: XRX), found that employers spent 35 percent more – about $220 – on each employee who participated in a wellness program compared to 2009.
These results were among the key findings of Buck’s fourth annual global wellness survey which analyzed responses from more than 1,200 organizations in 47 countries representing more than 13 million employees.
“Organizations that measure the impact of their wellness programs are more successful at improving their employees’ health and overall wellness,” said Barry Hall, a Buck principal who directed the survey. “However, many simply don’t know how to measure their results, or they don’t have the resources to do so.”
Wellness programs continued to gain momentum this year among U.S.-based organizations as a key strategy to reduce the cost of providing health care, improve worker productivity, and reduce absenteeism. Globally, improving productivity is the most important objective for wellness programs, with improving workforce morale and engagement rising from the third to the second most important objective.
Among U.S. respondents, 40 percent have measured how wellness programs affect the cost of providing health care benefits to their employees. Of those, 45 percent report success in slowing health care cost increases, with a typical reduction of two to five percentage points per year.
The U.S. results contrast with results in other regions on the health risks that drive wellness programs. Globally, reducing workplace stress is the top driver of wellness programs, particularly in Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the United States, the lack of physical activity is the top driver, and stress ranks much lower (sixth) as a health risk targeted by these programs.
Other key findings of Buck’s wellness study include:
* Globally, 66 percent of respondents have a formal wellness strategy, a significant increase from 49 percent in 2007.
* Wellness programs are most prevalent in North America, where 74 percent of responding employers offer them.
* Eleven percent of U.S. respondents spend more than $500 per employee per year on wellness rewards, with the largest rewards reported at $3,000 per employee.
* The fastest-growing components of wellness programs are technology-driven tools. In three years, employers around the world expect a six-fold increase in their use of mobile technology – such as smartphones – to support employee wellness initiatives.
Additional issues covered by Buck’s global survey include program design, organizational ownership of wellness programs, and communication strategies.
Buck Consultants’ survey was conducted in association with Pfizer, CIGNA, Wolf Kirsten International Health Consulting, and WorldatWork.
About the Survey Partners
Buck Consultants is a leader in human resource and benefits consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. Founded in 1916 to advise clients in establishing and funding some of the nation’s first public and private retirement programs, Buck is an innovator in the areas of retirement benefits, health and welfare programs, human capital management, compensation, and employee communication. News and other information about Buck Consultants are available at http://www.buckconsultants.com. Buck is a wholly owned subsidiary of ACS, A Xerox Company.
Xerox Corporation is a $22 billion leading global enterprise for business process and document management. Through its broad portfolio of technology and services, Xerox provides the essential back-office support that clears the way for clients to focus on what they do best: their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Xerox provides leading-edge document technology, services, software and genuine Xerox supplies for graphic communication and office printing environments of any size. Through ACS, A Xerox Company, which Xerox acquired in February 2010, Xerox also offers extensive business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing services, including data processing, HR benefits management, finance support, and customer relationship management services for commercial and government organizations worldwide. The 133,000 people of Xerox serve clients in more than 160 countries. For more information, visit http://www.xerox.com
Pfizer is committed to being a global leader in health care and to helping change millions of lives for the better through providing access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and related health care services to the people who need them.
CIGNA (NYSE: CI) is a global health service and financial company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. CIGNA Corporation’s operating subsidiaries in the United States provide an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance. CIGNA offers products and services in over 27 countries and jurisdictions and has approximately 60 million customer relationships throughout the world.
Wolf Kirsten International Health Consulting is a Berlin-based global consultancy that helps organizations with the development, implementation and evaluation of workplace health promotion programs, specializing in global strategies and culturally-adapted programming for multi-national companies.
WorldatWork is a not-for-profit organization providing education, conferences and research focused on global human resources issues including compensation, benefits, work-life and integrated total rewards to attract, motivate and retain a talented workforce. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork has nearly 30,000 members in more than 100 countries. WorldatWork has offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Washington, D.C.
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