To help employers better understand the current landscape of workplace health programs to encourage the health and well-being of their employees, health and productivity research non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute conducted an analysis of current offerings and trends. The study found that less than half (46%) of U.S. employers offer some type of workplace health program to employees and smaller worksites were less likely than larger ones to offer most programs.
As employers look for ways to better support their staff and retain a competitive edge during what’s become known as “the Great Resignation,” many are rethinking their worksite programs, policies, benefits and environmental support. The analysis also found that one in three worksites (36%) offered some type of health promotion program followed by health screening programs (24%), and disease management programs (19%).
The study analyzed data from the most recent Workplace Health in America Survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in four worksites offered some type of health promotion program (e.g., physical activity, weight management, tobacco use), followed by health screening programs (24%), and disease management programs (19%). Evaluation of the programs is critically important to their success, however, only 50% of worksites collect data to evaluate success, and half use data to decide which programs to offer.
“Surprisingly, I found that many employers do not have a measurement strategy for the success of their workplace health programs,” IBI Researcher Carole Bonner explained. “When asked to demonstrate the value of the program, many employers are at a loss. As I dug into the research, I realized the challenge is rooted in a lack of measurable goals and objectives to establish criteria and standards to gauge performance. The path to evaluating a program’s performance can be achieved once measurable objectives are identified.”
Out of those who have WHPs, nearly all worksites collect data regarding participation (98.3%) and employee program feedback (89.7%). Important productivity measures – absenteeism (38.7%), presenteeism (35.3%), and turnover (32.8%) – were captured the least. There are benefits in terms of employee happiness, engagement, productivity, talent attraction and retention, industry recognition, and general organizational culture. Including these measurements can serve to increase support from leadership on the value and benefit of WHPs.
In addition to the survey findings, IBI sought input from human resource and benefits experts at leading healthcare, financial services, logistics, and industrial firms to help employers foster a culture that encourages healthy decisions and utilization of supportive programs and benefits. Recommendations include:
- Gain a competitive attraction/retention advantage through hyper-personalization and whole-person health
- Develop and enhance programs according to the convergence of social, physical, mental, financial, and familial health of the employee
- Communicate strategically to inform and engage employees, train leadership, and attract and retain talent
- Evaluate where programs are lacking or leading in workplace practices
“For employers, the theme here is to really know your population, and understand their needs in the present. Doing so requires a willingness to ask hard questions, listen to feedback, and find solutions that fill those needs- this builds trust, which is at the core of a great workplace culture,” shared IBI President Kelly McDevitt.
For more information, the report and infographic are available on IBI’s website.