Organisations in the past two years have increasingly adopted holistic employee well-being practices. Or so we thought. Data from the Integrated Benefits Institute has revealed a contrary on-ground reality. As per IBI findings, less than half (46%) of US employers are offering some type of workplace health programs to their staff. Unsurprisingly, smaller worksites were less likely than larger ones to offer most programs.
Analysing data from the most recent Workplace Health in America Survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IBI found that one in four worksites offered some type of health promotion program (e.g., physical activity, weight management, tobacco use), followed by health screening programs (24%), and disease management programs (19%).
Of those who have workplace health programs in place, nearly all worksites collect data regarding participation (98.3%) and employee program feedback (89.7%). Further, important productivity measures such as absenteeism (38.7%), presenteeism (35.3%), and turnover (32.8%) were captured as well.
However, while evaluation of the programs remains critical to their success, only 50% of workplaces collect data to evaluate success, with half leveraging the data to decide which programs to offer.
"Surprisingly, I found that many employers do not have a measurement strategy for the success of their workplace health programs. When asked to demonstrate the value of the program, many employers are at a loss," IBI Researcher Carole Bonner said. “As I dug into the research, I realized the challenge is rooted in a lack of measurable goals and objectives to establish criteria and standards to gauge performance. The path to evaluating a program's performance can be achieved once measurable objectives are identified."
Some of the other parameters that remain untracked include benefits in terms of employee happiness, engagement, productivity, talent attraction and retention, industry recognition, and general organizational culture. Through data and insights on such impact, talent leaders garner greater support and buy-in of leadership towards the value and benefit of WHPs.
Following these findings, IBI sought recommendations from human resource and benefits experts across industries to drive impact and utilisation of healthy workplace programs and benefits. Here is what experts suggested:
- Gain a competitive attraction/retention advantage through hyper-personalization and whole-person health
- Develop and enhance programs according to the convergence of social, physical, mental, financial, and familial health of the employee
- Communicate strategically to inform and engage employees, train leadership, and attract and retain talent
- Evaluate where programs are lacking or leading in workplace practices
"For employers, the theme here is to really know your population, and understand their needs in the present. Doing so requires a willingness to ask hard questions, listen to feedback, and find solutions that fill those needs- this builds trust, which is at the core of a great workplace culture," shared IBI President Kelly McDevitt.