How to Improve Workplace Wellness Program Participation

More than 80 percent of all employers — 85 percent of large companies and 81 percent of smaller companies — have employee wellness programs in place, according to bswift's "2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study." However, many of these wellness programs are not working as well as they could, as just 44 percent of them have employee participation rates higher than 50 percent.

"High levels of participation are critical for wellness program success, but companies are falling short when it comes to outcomes-based incentives that reward participants for their actions and increase engagement in these programs," Brad Wolfsen, executive director at bswift, said in a news release. "To move the needle on wellness, assessments must be objective, progress must be measurable and employees must be invested in their own wellness success."

One cost-effective incentive that tends to boost participation in wellness programs is premium adjustments, according to the study. "Our experience has shown that when incentive values match the level of effort required, they drive significant participation in wellness programs, typically over 70 percent, and premium adjustments, either surcharges or discounts, are typically the most effective means of delivering incentives, with the best bang for the buck," Mr. Wolfsen said in the study.

According to the study, 64 percent of large employers use health insurance premium discounts, credits, surcharges or penalties in their wellness programs.

Read the whole study for more information on workplace wellness programs.

Study results are from an online survey of 380 benefit decision-makers at organizations with at least 50 employees. In the survey, large employers were defined as having more than 500 benefit-eligible employees, small employers as having 50 to 500 benefit-eligible employees.

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.