Startups lead the way in wellness

Startup companies are fresh and new—and their ideas reflect it. A new report finds startups lead the charge in the wellness revolution.

A survey of more than 1,000 small business owners by Humana and the National Small Business Association finds 63 percent of startups already have adopted health and wellness programs.

And most, at 85 percent, say wellness programs are well worth the investment, and help aid in recruiting and retaining employees.

[See "Employers save big on wellness programs"]

That might be because many startups boast younger employees, who prefer and pursue wellness program offerings. A key factor in small business owners’ decision about whether or not to introduce a health and wellness program rests with employee interest, the report says.

“Wellness solutions likely will be an increasingly important part of the employee value proposition,” says Jerry Ganoni, president of Humana’s small business division. “It will be crucial for the industry to focus on providing small-business owners with the information they need to make the wellness decisions necessary to recruit and retain employees while making an a meaningful impact on their bottom lines.”

And while most other small businesses don’t offer health and wellness programs to their employees, the survey notes, they may want to consider it: Three out of four small businesses who offer such programs find the initiatives have a positive impact on their bottom line.

Small businesses also cited a lack of resources and tools as reasons they haven’t implemented wellness programs.

But almost all still identified employee wellness as vital to their company’s success: An overwhelming 93 percent of the respondents consider their employees’ physical and mental health to be important to their financial results. But only one-third express confidence in their ability to help employees manage their well-being.

[Read "Wellness programs significantly reduce health risks"]

High employee stress is the No. 1 concern for small business decision-makers, with stress levels more than triple other employee well-being concerns. Understanding this issue and incorporating stress-management into wellness offerings will be an important consideration for small business owners moving forward, report authors say.

In fact, 67 percent say offering programs that help keep employees healthy would be the best health-related option received by employees, versus only 17 percent who argue for more sick days.


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