Most employers (and employees) think of wellness as primarily relating to physical health. But as a new survey reveals, employers are expanding wellness programs beyond just the physical aspects to improve employees’ emotions, finances, and “resiliency.”
More employers are investing in “total well-being” programs that address areas such as financial and emotional health, according to the 7th annual survey on corporate health and well-being from Fidelity Investments Benefits Consulting and the National Business Group on Health® (NBGH). The survey revealed employers are adding programs that help their workers manage stress, improve their resiliency, and assist with their financial challenges.
This year’s survey results indicate employers recognize that a “healthy” employee can be affected by nonhealth factors, according to an NBGH press release, so “wellness” programs need to address emotional and financial needs, rather than focus solely on physical health.
“Employers have long understood the importance of improving employee productivity and are now focused on the factors that impact productivity, specifically the drivers of well-being, such as emotional stress and financial challenges, to achieve their goals,” said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president, Fidelity Benefits Consulting.
When employers were asked on the survey about their plans for well-being programs in the future, 67% plan to expand their efforts, and an additional 17% plan to maintain at the current level.
In 2016, 87% of employers offered emotional or mental well-being programs, and 76% provided financial health programs. Stress management is by far the most popular emotional well-being program offered—54% of employers currently offer this program, and an additional 12% are planning to do so in 2017.
Also popular is “resiliency training,” which helps employees manage setbacks in the workplace or in their life outside work. The survey shows that 27% of employers currently offer this program, with another 20% planning to do so in 2017.
To help employees manage their financial well-being, almost three-quarters (73%) of companies surveyed offer on-site financial seminars, and 59% make a financial coach available to employees.
Student loan repayment assistance—a benefit typically offered only in the public sector—will now be offered by 13% of employers in 2016, and another 21% are considering adding it in the future.
“Social factors and one’s environment play an important role in employee engagement and in one’s view of their overall well-being,” said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the NBGH. “We are seeing more companies step up their efforts to integrate financial and emotional well-being, social connectedness, and job satisfaction with their more traditional efforts to support physical health.”
Note: The online survey includes responses from 129 organizations among NBGH members and clients of Fidelity Investments.
In tomorrow’s Advisor, we examine another method for improving employees’ focus and stress levels—mindfulness.