Wellness works: More than half of employers include wellness program in health package


NEW YORK — More employers continue to start wellness programs, and the majority of organizations with programs currently in place are looking to invest and expand, according to the "2011 Willis Health and Productivity Survey" by Willis North America's Human Capital Practice released Tuesday.

According to the survey, 60% of respondents indicated they have some type of wellness program, an increase of 13% from 2010. Additionally, employers are not scaling back — 58% indicated they plan to expand their wellness initiatives with added programs or resources. “Wellness programs continue to evolve, and it is encouraging to see more organizations initiate programs despite economic pressures and continuing challenges in accurately measuring outcomes and results,” stated Jennifer Price, senior health outcomes consultant at Willis Human Capital Practice.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • 60% of employers indicated they had some type of wellness program. Of those with a wellness program, 40% reported they have an “intermediate” program in place;

  • The most common types of wellness programs being offered by respondents included physical activity programs (53%), tobacco cessation programs (49%) and weight management programs (45%); and

  • 43% of employers said the leading barrier to measuring success was difficulty in determining the influence of wellness compared with other factors impacting healthcare costs. Insufficient data and not enough staffing/time remain common barriers to measuring success.

The survey represents the findings received from 1,598 employers representing a cross-section of industries, locations and organizational sizes. Forty-four percent of respondents had 1,000 or more employees.

To download the survey click here.

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