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More employers encourage healthy behaviour

By 2018, 64 per cent of US employers intend to focus on developing a workplace culture that supports employee wellbeing as a primary strategy to boost health engagement, according to research by Willis Towers Watson.

More than two-thirds (70 per cent) of the 487 employer respondents have improved their physical environments to encourage healthy behaviours, including adding healthy foods to cafeteria menus, walking paths and campus bike-sharing programmes.

Employers are also tapping into the power of its employees by recruiting local health champions (62 per cent), encouraging employees to share personal stories (61 per cent) and enabling key influencers to spread the word through social networks (32 per cent).

“Many employees today have a complex set of interconnected issues to deal with, which can prevent them from bringing their best selves to work each day,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, national lead of Willis Towers Watson's health management.

“Employers increasingly are understanding that to make a measurable difference in employees' overall health and productivity, they must drive wellbeing initiatives deeper into the organisation and embed them in employees' day-to-day work experience.”

The research also found:

• 47 per cent of respondents include financial wellbeing as part of their overall workforce wellbeing strategy.

• 51 per cent said their senior leaders are visible champions of the organisation's health and wellbeing strategy.

• 49 per cent have built health and wellbeing into their employee value proposition.

• 56 per cent ask employees what's missing from their wellbeing experience and what they need to succeed at work.

• 35 per cent of respondents invite family members to participate in programs and activities.

• 74 per cent make online health improvement tools available to employees both at work and at home.

• 58 per cent have a portal devoted exclusively to health-related information.

“Workforce health can be a true differentiator,” said Shelly Wolff, senior healthcare consultant at Willis Towers Watson. “As the wellbeing of employees and their families is enhanced, employers are better positioned to achieve bottom-line goals, improve benefit cost management and lower absenteeism.

“What's more, they'll also have happier, healthier and more engaged employees.”

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Published May 31, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated May 30, 2016 at 10:13 pm)

More employers encourage healthy behaviour

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