Americans See Real Rewards from Workplace Wellness Programs
Employers offer incentives to increase program participation
January 30, 2013 (Des Moines, Iowa) — More American workers recognize the rewards of participating in workplace wellness programs, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM: American Workers. Sixty-two percent of workers, up from 55 percent 2011, believe workplace wellness activities are successful in improving health and reducing health risks.
The index, which surveys American workers at growing businesses with 10-1,000 workers, is released by the Principal Financial Group® and conducted by Harris Interactive®. These findings focusing specifically on wellness attitudes and behaviors among American workers were taken from the fourth quarter 2012 Index.
By taking advantage of workplace wellness offerings, American employees are approaching their work with more energy and motivation. Fifty-one percent of program participants feel wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and another 59 percent of program participants say they have more energy to be productive at work as a result of their participation in employer-sponsored wellness programs.
"As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer offers these benefits," said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. "In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations."
Nearly half (45 percent) of employees agree that an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation, up from 40 percent 2011. Additionally, 43 percent of participants say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up eight percent from 2011. Despite the apparent benefits, about a third (34 percent) of workers still do not participate in any of the wellness programs offered by their employers.
Employer Incentives on the Rise
As wellness programs become more popular, employers are offering a variety of ways to encourage employees to participate. The survey shows the top three ways employees are encouraged by their employers to participate in wellness programs are: encouragement by management (20 percent), lower health insurance costs to those who participate (20 percent), or allotted time for participation during the workday (20 percent, up from 9 percent). Only a little more than a third (36 percent) say their employers do not offer any encouragement to participate in wellness benefits, a significant divergence from the previous three years, when about half of participants said their employer did nothing to encourage wellness program participation.
Participants also cited an increase in the following employer incentives:
- Seventeen percent, up from 9 percent the previous year, say their employer offers contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement account;
- Sixteen percent, up from 12 percent the previous year, say their employer provides other financial incentives such as gift certificates or discounts for those who participate;
- And 10 percent, up from 6 percent the previous year, report that their employer rewards additional paid time off from work to participants.
"It's in every employer's interest to have healthier, happier, more productive employees," said Dukes. "Employers have to do more than offer wellness programs; in order to see the benefits, they have to incent participation."
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This Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Principal Financial Group® between October 30 and November 7, 2012 among 1,103 employees.
This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses. The first Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM survey was conducted in the United States in 2000.
About the Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®) is a global investment management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services through its diverse family of companies. Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500®, the Principal Financial Group has $392.2 billion in assets under management and serves some 18.3 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit www.principal.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients-stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.