Employers unhappy with the performance of their wellness programs should look at whether they’re offering what employees actually want.
A recent study confirmed there is a big discrepancy between what employees want from a wellness plan, and what employers are actually providing.
The study, entitled “The Business of Healthy Employees: A Survey of Workplace Health Priorities,” was a joint effort between Virgin Pulse and Workforce magazine, and surveyed 361 employers and 3,822 employers with the goal of finding out how workplace wellness programs are developing.
One of the study’s most noteworthy findings was that what employees want from wellness programs and what they get are often two different things.
What employees want
Here are the top 10 wellness offerings employees say they want:
- Physical activity programs — cited by 72.4% of employees
- Healthy on-site food choices — 65.5%
- On-site gyms or fitness classes — 62.3%
- Nutrition programs — 60.9%
- On-site health clinics — 59.3%
- Discounted or reimbursed health club memberships — 58.8%
- Weight management programs — 50.4%
- Financial wellness programs — 49.5%
- Brain games/brain training programs — 48.5%
- Stress management programs — 45%
What employees are getting
Here are the top 10 wellness offerings from employers:
- Smoking cessation programs — offered by 54.3% of employers
- Physical activity programs — 53.3%
- Mental health/depression management resources — 52.4%
- Health club memberships (discounted or reimbursed) — 49.9%
- Weight management programs — 47.1%
- Nutrition programs — 44.6%
- Healthy on-site food choices — 40.1%
- Stress management programs — 39.6%
- Health coaching — 39.3%
- On-site gyms or fitness classes — 36.5%
While these lists aren’t totally dissimilar, there is one major difference — and it’s pretty glaring: Employers clearly value smoking cessation much more than employees do.
While it was the most popular offering among employers (with 54% of employers offering it), smoking cessation didn’t sniff employees’ top 10 list of wellness offerings they desire most.
Another big difference is that of the desirability and access to on-site gyms and fitness classes. While 62% of employers said they want access to them, just a hair over 36% of employers are offering them.