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Survey Shows Increase in Employer-sponsored Wellness Programs

Posted: July 30, 2008

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Employers are using other measures to evaluate program success, such as completion of health risk assessments and program participation. And when it comes to incentives, employers are much more likely to reward program participation and completion than to reward employees for meeting specific program goals, such as smoking cessation or losing weight.

“More employers have learned that investment in their employees' health is smart--it brings a positive return," said ERIC president Mark Ugoretz. "But directing resources towards workers' health must be balanced with an understanding of how incentives work within these programs. This survey shows that employers are serious about understanding the business case for incentives for employee engagement and participation. They want to make the most of these programs that can both lower costs and improve productivity."

“The survey findings reveal that use of incentives among large employers is broad, but the science of incentives management is still evolving,” said Michael Dermer, president and CEO of IncentOne. “Success in health and wellness programs will require employee engagement and motivation over time. That suggests a need for a combination of incentive design strategies and effective employee communication techniques that are tailored to a company and its employee culture.”

NAM is one of the nation's largest industrial trade associations, representing small, medium and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. ERIC represents some of the nation's largest employers who provide comprehensive health, retirement and compensation benefits to tens of millions of employees and their families. Together, NAM and ERIC represent more than 15 million total employees. The Web-based survey was sent to members of both organizations.

The survey was conducted to determine employer adoption of incentives for health and disease management programs, and to assess the nuances of incentives they are using: the types of incentives currently used, the programs they use them for and the amount they are paying. The survey also sought to understand employer expectations for program ROI and challenges employers faced in implementing and operating these programs.