Salary & Benefits

New Survey Indicates Wellness and Well-Being Programs Are Underutilized

As part of an effort to engage and retain employees, organizations are offering wellness and well-being programs. A full seven in 10 organizations offer such programs for employees, according to a new study from Brandon Hall Group, an HCM research and advisory services firm.wellness

Yet, despite availability of the benefit, Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Wellness and Well-Being Study finds that less than 40% of organizations have more than half of their employees participating in the program.

Measuring Effectiveness

The research also raises the question of how organizations are benefiting from their wellness and well-being programs. It finds 71% don’t know the average per-employee cost reduction attributable to the wellness/well-being program, and 82% don’t know the average return on each dollar spent on wellness/well-being.

How organizations measure the effectiveness of their wellness and well-being programs differs significantly by size of organization. For example, the most frequently used measure of effectiveness for small organizations is improved employee retention rate (40%of respondents), while that answer ranks 12th among large organizations (17% of respondents). Overall, increased employee engagement and reduction in absenteeism are the most frequently used measures of effectiveness.

“Organizations clearly believe there is a benefit to offering wellness and well-being programs to their employees because 70 percent of organizations are offering them. But like everything else in human capital management, measurement is the key to understanding exactly what the benefits are,” said Mike Cooke, CEO of Brandon Hall Group.

Cooke adds, “The fact that the great majority of organizations say they don’t know the average per-employee cost reduction attributable to the wellness/well-being program, or the average dollar return on each dollar spent, means organizations need to up their measurement game if they are going to prove to leadership that these programs are truly valuable and sustainable in the long-term.”

Additional Findings

Other findings of the study include:

  • Organizations are 79% more likely to use e-mail to communicate their wellness/well-being programs than any other method. Only 10% of organizations say they used push notifications on an app.
  • Organizations that offer dedicated wellness/well-being programs are, on average, 31% more likely than organizations without such offerings to see increases in employee engagement and retention, and customer satisfaction and retention.
  • The tools/technology most often used to support wellness/well-being programs are engagement tools (51% of organizations), self-service portals (50%), online assessments and profiles (41%), and wearables/mobile tracking devices (40%).

The online survey gathered responses from 31 countries and 32 industries. The data was collected in January 2018 through March 2018.