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Companies take employee health more seriously

Companies are taking employee health more seriously, according to a survey by Willis North America's Human Capital Practice, a unit of Willis Group Holdings plc.

Released earlier this month, the survey found that organisations' senior leadership commitment to improving employee health was up 600 percent from last year's results.

According to the survey, 42 percent of senior leadership surveyed said they were improving employee benefit health through workplace wellness programmes and cultural support for wellness, compared with six percent in 2009.

The Willis Health and Productivity Survey also found that employers still were struggling to successfully engage their workforce in their health and productivity initiatives and also reported having trouble measuring the success rate of those offerings.

Willis reported that it received more than 1,900 responses to the survey and that 71 percent of the respondents had 500 or fewer employees.

Some key findings include:

l Fifty-three percent of employers indicated they had some type of wellness programme. Of those with a wellness programme, 57 percent describe their programme as “basic”.

l Health care costs remain the driving force motivating organisations to implement worksite wellness programmes. Seventy-eight percent of employers reviewed their health care cost trends prior to implementing a wellness programme.

l Only 28 percent of responding employers have a specific and defined strategy in place to improve employee engagement in the workplace. Of the organisations that have a formal strategy, 64 percent considered their worksite wellness programme to be an important part of their overall employee engagement strategy.

“While it is encouraging to see organisational support at the senior level significantly increasing, the survey indicates a need to focus programmes on increased employee engagement,” said Cheryl Mealey, national practice leader, wellness consulting with Willis Human Capital Practice in a statement.

Ms Mealey added that employers are missing an important opportunity by not investing in training designed to assist mid-level managers in managing relationships along with the health and productivity workforce.

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Published March 29, 2011 at 10:29 am (Updated March 29, 2011 at 10:29 am)

Companies take employee health more seriously

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