Employers of all sizes view well-being as a key part of their workforce strategy, according to recent research from Fidelity Investments and Business Group on Health. The Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-Being Survey found that despite ongoing economic pressures, many employers said this heightened focus on well-being resulted from the physical and mental toll of the pandemic and indicated that they would maintain or boost their investment in well-being programs. In fact, the survey found that 90 percent of employers stated that the current economic environment would not lead to a reduction in their investment in well-being and 31 percent planned to increase their investment.
Fidelity and the Business Group on Health noted that onsite initiatives that had been stymied by the pandemic should return to pre-COVID numbers in 2024. For instance, 61 percent of companies plan to offer onsite yoga or meditation classes, up from 22 percent in 2022; 60 percent plan to offer onsite fitness classes, up from 25 percent in 2022; 62 percent plan to offer onsite health fairs, up from 6 percent in 2022; and 35 percent plan to offer onsite counseling or therapy, up from 18 percent in 2022.
“Employees today are looking to employers for support as they navigate work and life in a post-pandemic world,” said Robert Kennedy, health and welfare practice leader at Fidelity Workplace Consulting. “We are so encouraged to see employers around the globe continue to invest in and evolve their well-being programs, meeting employees exactly where they are and providing them with much-needed support.”
And while mental health, physical health and financial well-being have remained well-established features of well-being strategies, employers said they would expand the scope of their offerings. For example, the survey found that in 2023, 82 percent of employers plan to focus on social connectedness, up from 70 percent in 2022; and 79 percent plan to focus on community, up from 67 percent in 2022.
“Employers are well-aware of the essential relationship between more sustainable workforces and robust well-being strategies,” said Ellen Kelsay, president and CEO of Business Group on Health. “It’s exciting to watch major employers demonstrate their commitment to employees by growing their well-being initiatives. By improving upon their existing offerings, everyone wins.”
Financial incentives. In addition, 73 percent of employers said they would offer financial incentives to reward positive well-being actions in 2023, a jump from just over two-thirds (68 percent) in 2021 and 2022. Most employers are delivering financial incentives using gift cards or other cash equivalents (52 percent), with health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) and health savings account (HSA) funding as the next most common incentive (40 percent). On average, employers provided an incentive of $716 per employee, down 13 percent from last year. For spouses/partners, the average incentive amount is $662 per employee, an increase of 3 percent from last year.
According to the survey, more growth surrounding incentives is anticipated in the next three to five years, with 43 percent of respondents planning to expand their investments. An additional 35 percent will maintain their incentive funding through 2026-2028. While most employers plan to maintain their overall well-being investments in the next three to five years, some dimensions of well-being will experience varying levels of investment, with employers most likely to expand mental health (74 percent); financial wellness/well-being (53 percent); work/life balance (52 percent); and physical health initiatives (50 percent).
From WCI's HR Answers Now ©2023 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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