Healthcare Issues Facing Employers Today

Personalization, providing rewards and understanding what employees want are key to maximizing value in employer-sponsored health and well-being programs according to results from a new national survey released by Welltok, Inc., developer of the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform  and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a non-profit organization that leads initiatives to address relevant healthcare issues facing employers today.

The survey, “Whispers from the Water Cooler: What motivates employees to improve their health and well-being,” explores how employees view an employer’s involvement in programs that impact physical and emotional health, social connectedness and financial security, according to a press release from Welltok.

Based on the responses of over 1,000 full-time employees working for large companies, the results show that a vast majority perceive employer-sponsored programs as having a positive impact.

Other notable survey findings include, according to the press release:

  • Satisfaction with health and well-being programs is high, but more personalization is needed. Most participants (81%) saw a positive impact on their physical well-being and more than 60% agreed or strongly agreed that including family in such programs would likely increase their participation. For those that did not participate, 37% did not find them personally relevant and 20% didn’t know they were available, a strong indication that greater personalization and awareness is needed to drive employee engagement.
  • Rewards work for all employees, regardless of income and age. The majority (91%) would engage in healthier behaviors if they were rewarded, including those who had an income of at least $200,000 (78%). Nearly all employees under 35-years-old agreed (98%), but those over 55 weren’t quite as motivated by rewards (85%).
  • Colleagues and direct managers are top motivators; 86% ranked their colleagues as one of the top motivators to improving their overall health and well-being at work, followed closely by their direct manager (57%). Perceptions varied by age, however. Millennials were partial to their direct manager’s influence (64%) but less so to human resources (HR) (24%) whereas their 55 or older counterparts were less motivated by direct managers (51%) and more influenced by HR (40%).
  • Younger and lower income employees say employers should help them to become more financially secure. More than half (63%) of the households making less than $50,000 wanted employers to play a role in their financial well-being, while that figure dropped to less than half (44%) for those making $200,000 or more. Looking at age, 60% of participants between 18 and 34 thought employers should be involved in financial health, whereas less than half of those 45 and older agreed. Gender impacted these perceptions as well – 58% of females felt employers should play a role in employees’ financial health versus 48% of males.
  • There is a role for employers in improving health and wellbeing, but participation still lags. When asked about the role employers should play in employee health, getting cost effective care and providing emotional/personal support resources ranked highest among respondents (77% and 74% agreed or strongly agreed, respectively).
  • The majority of employees also see a role for their employer in helping them to stop unhealthy behaviors or managing financial issues (53% agreed or strongly agreed). Yet participation in employer-sponsored programs remains low. For example, emotional health and financial security programs had the lowest levels of participation – 24 and 37%. Even physical health programs have room for improvement – only 48% of employees had participated in a program to help them improve their physical health.

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