By Clive Riddle, September 19, 2014
Humana has just published a 22 page report Measuring wellness: From data to insights which based on their study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, examining “why companies implement workplace wellness, how data influences these programs and identifies obstacles that inhibit program participation.” The study surveyed 225 U.S.-based executives and 630 full-time employees from organizations with workplace wellness programs.
Beth Bierbower, President of Humana’s Employer Group Segment, tells us “It’s interesting to validate that employers now view ROI as an important, but not exclusive or even primary measure of a wellness program’s success. Employers are now seeing that employee health is important beyond health care costs, it has profound impacts on productivity, retention, workplace engagement and morale.” The report states that instead of asking about ROI, “perhaps the question should be, ‘do we improve health at a reasonable price’ as opposed to ‘do we save money by doing so.’”
Here are some key findings highlighted from the study:
- Nearly 70 percent of executives consider their organization’s wellness program to be cost effective, even though not all of the outcomes are measurable.
- While 86 percent of executives say improving employee health as an indirect driver of productivity, morale and engagement is their top reason for implementing a wellness program, cost factors are still important, including reducing employee health care costs (66 percent) and controlling medical claims (48 percent).
- About 30 percent of employees rate subsidized gym memberships, onsite health and wellness facilities, and budgeted wellness activity time during business hours, as the three most important services that would motivate participation.
- 64 percent of employees have used fitness devices to monitor health and capture data, but only 19 percent use them regularly.
- Two-thirds of executives feel data collection and interpretation is the biggest challenge confronting effective workplace wellness.
- 53% of survey respondents say their organization collects health-related employee data as part of its wellness program
- The biggest disconnects between executives and employees regarding their perceptions of obstacles to employee participation in wellness programs, were in regards to the statements: “Employees don’t perceive health and wellness as a high priority” (30% of executives agreed vs. 2% of employees); “Employees are concerned that personal information will not remain confidential (43% of executives agreed vs. 27% of employees); and “Employees distrust employer motives” (24% of executives agreed vs. 11% of employees.)