About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Challenge of Promoting Wellness: A New Survey

As a wellness professional, I see first hand the strain caused by rising health care costs. Although most companies are going to great lengths to preserve their benefits packages, there is definitely a sense that the status quo isn't sustainable. More and more employers are asking their workers to take greater responsibility for their own health.

A recent Towers Watson survey (highlighted in the April edition of Employee Benefit Adviser) gives us an interesting picture of how some large companies are responding to rising costs:
Although these trends are a step in the right direction, the Towers survey also suggests areas for improvement:
  • 58% report a lack of employee engagement
  • 31% report a lack of sufficient financial incentives
  • 30% report an inadequate budget for health management
I think there's something to be learned from these two data sets. It's great that two-thirds of the companies surveyed offer incentives for completing an HRA, but this raises an important question: What are they doing with all that health assessment data? How deeply are they delving into the numbers?

While the health risk assessment gives individuals a snapshot of their overall health status, it also yields valuable information about the entire population. (Company reporting is in HIPAA-compliant aggregate format to preserve privacy.)

Here's a real-world example. One of our clients noticed that many of its shift workers reported back pain on their HRAs. That revelation prompted the company to address the problem head on, before it resulted in workers compensation claims. This is how engagement is built -- by addressing issues that really matter to your employees.

What do the Towers Watson survey numbers say to you? I've offered my two cents, but I'd love to hear what you have to say.


jimpurdy1943@yahoo.com said...

"26% offer onsite health centers"

I know these are difficult economic times, but this might be a worthwhile investment in terms of worker health, reduced medical costs, and improved worker job satisfaction.

Jim Purdy
The 50 Best Health Blogs

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