Employers do not monitor wellness strategies’ outcomes

Only 9% of employer respondents actively monitor and measure specific outcomes of their workplace wellness strategy against original objectives, according to research by Buck Consultants.

Its Working well: a global survey of health promotion and workplace wellness strategies report, found that 74% of respondents do not measure the impact of their wellness strategies due to limited resources.

It also found that the top three goals for UK organisations are increasing: employee morale and engagement (73%), improving staff productivity and reducing presenteeism (69%), and reducing absenteeism (66%).

Half of respondents (50%) said their organisation has a health promotion or wellness strategy, with 71% of these having been in place for more than two years. Almost half (45%) said they offer an incentive to employees to take part in wellness initiatives, up from 24% in 2010.

The research also found:

  • The top three components of a strategy are an employee assistance programme (EAP), a bikes-for-work scheme and health risk appraisals.  Occupational health was the fourth.
  • Onsite health coaching is the fastest-growing component of strategies, followed by improving the psychosocial work environment.
  • 72% of respondents said their EAP is the main tool for assisting with stress issues. Leadership training (50%) and awareness campaigns (41%) were the next most popular tools.
  • 67% of respondents do not offer any assistance to help staff stop smoking.
  • The top methods of communicating wellness initiatives are: posters or flyers (66%), web portals or intranets (62%), and newsletters or articles (55%). Just 6% of respondents use social media.

Fraser Smart, managing director for Europe at Buck Consultants, said: “Many employers are making faith-based purchases, where they are investing in wellness because they think it is the right thing to do, without knowing if it is having a positive impact or not on employee health.

“A wellness strategy should be treated in the same way as any other business strategy where commitment, measurement, evaluation and review are the keys to success. If employers don’t measure the outcomes, how do they know whether it’s working and how can they strive to improve?”