Employees want more out of wellness offerings

Americans work harder, are more productive and miss fewer days of work as a result of wellness benefit programs, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index. Forty-one percent of workers say having a wellness program encourages them to work harder and perform better at work.

Good health is beneficial for both the employer and the employee, research shows: 52 percent of workers (up from 37 percent last year) said they have more energy and 35 percent (up from 28 percent a year ago) said that they have missed fewer days of work because of their participation in a wellness program.

But despite the fact most workers think the programs are worth it, there’s a disconnect as to what workers want from it and what employers offer.

The most common wellness packages included online wellness information and educational tools or resources, but 25 percent of those without discounts to the gym said they would prefer a workout pass instead. Employees also say they would like on-site preventive screenings (22 percent), access to wellness experts such as nutritionists (21 percent) and onsite fitness facilities (19 percent).

“As Americans become more involved in their own health, they want new ways to improve their health while at work, as evidenced by their increasing demand for health coaches and preventive screenings,” says Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group.

The index, which surveys American workers at growing businesses with 10-1,000 workers Survey of 1,121 employees and 533 retirees conducted October 2011, 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 2011 Index.

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