Wellness programs more popular than ever, but companies unsure about effectiveness
Monday, 10 January 2011 16:00A study recently released by Buck Consultants has shown that companies worldwide are providing more wellness programs for employees, but many lack the resources to measure the success of such initiatives.
Buck surveyed about 1,200 organizations in 47 countries and found that companies spent 35 percent more - about $220 per employee - on wellness programs in 2010 than the previous year. However, less than 40 percent of U.S. employers measured how the programs actually affected employee health benefit costs.
Of those companies that measured the effectiveness of wellness programs, 45 percent experienced a deceleration in the rise of healthcare costs by 2 to 5 percent.
The study also found that companies in the U.S. tend to use the programs as a way to reduce healthcare costs and improve employee performance. Globally, employers said their main motivation for implementing wellness programs was to improve productivity and reduce workplace stress.
In North America, wellness programs are most common, with 74 percent of survey respondents saying they offer them.
Whether companies are studying the effects of similar initiatives or not, wellness programs are more popular than ever. Globally, 66 percent of survey participants said they offer them, a nearly 50 percent increase since 2007.
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