Survey: Workers believe employers care about health, but could do more

7 Jul

Work wellness programs are becoming more popular, but many employees feel their company could step up their wellness practices.

A survey from Provant, a population health management company, recently polled more than 2,130 adults in the U.S. who were 18 or older. There was a total of 923 employees surveyed working part-time or full-time jobs which asked if the respondents believe their employer cared about worker health and the research found 2 to 3 believed in worker wellness. Employees were asked to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement, "I feel like my employer cares about my health," which 66 percent answered "somewhat agree" or "strongly agree."

However, at the same time, only 25 percent of respondents said their employer provides any sort of wellness program, 21 percent said there are health food options in the kitchen or cafeteria and only 20 percent had on-site fitness equipment available for its employees.

Employees were asked to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement, "I feel like my employer cares about my health," which 66 percent answered "somewhat agree" or "strongly agree."

More attention to human resources
Adding wellness programs to the workplace is something more human resources departments are considering when thinking about employee benefits management. Employers can save money on reduced healthcare costs in the long run by investing in wellness programs. Buck Consultants ran a survey of more than 628 employer groups and found the No. 1 motivator for companies to invest in wellness programs is to lower healthcare costs, Inc. Magazine reported.

Not only will wellness programs create healthier employees, but the employee benefits will attract talent and help retain workers since young workers want healthier options to improve their health along with their benefits, Business Legal Resources reported.

"Harder to quantify, but just as impactful, is the fact that your investment in your employees' well-being will jump-start their morale, loyalty and engagement – all of which is good news for their productivity and your bottom line," said Dr. Carmella Sebastian, a certified expert with the Wellness Council of America, the source reported. "And since the millennials who are driving the wellness movement will be in the workforce for quite some time, think of proactively engaging with them as a smart long-term investment."

Small gestures can improve wellness attention
Many companies that cannot afford to give gym memberships or have professional health coaches can still show employees that they are dedicated to their health and well-being. According to Inc. Magazine, companies should bring in fruit for workers at least once a week or make different activities such as runs, softball recreational leagues and outdoor activities to keep workers exercising.

In the winter months, employers should promote preventative care with vaccinations such as free flu shots for workers, the source said. Companies can also offer free bike storage or secure parking near or inside their building to get more employees riding into the office.

Workplaces should increase their involvement with their workers health to keep employees from missing additional days of work and having more health risks from unhealthy eating.

"We're committed to making the workplace a setting where tangibly improving one's well-being is realistic," said Candice Fioravanti, a health coach for Provant. "Removing barriers to health and wellness creates a dual bottom line for employees and employers. Together, they enjoy lower costs, enhanced productivity, higher morale, more effective talent recruitment and a strong corporate brand."

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