More Health and Wellness Survey Results

Yesterday’s Advisor looked at some of the results from our recent health and wellness survey. Today, more results.

Health Factor-Based Incentive Programs

Only 18.0% of survey takers answered that they do have incentive programs based on improving a health factor. We also asked those who answered yes to explain. Here are some of their responses:

  • “Prizes for improved numbers.”
  • “You get points that count toward an overall reward point system based on improvements and healthy numbers from biometric data.”
  • “Large employer contributions to HSA.”
  • “Not yet, but we plan to grow the program in that direction.”
  • “Next year we will implement a voluntary outcomes-based wellness program to try to reduce risk factors in our employee population.”


Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP)

When asked whether they had a CDMP, 34.5% answered that they did.

Reducing Chronic Disease Cost

The majority of respondents answered that their CDMP was “Somewhat effective” at reducing chronic disease costs. “Very effective” received 21.4% of the responses. Only 15.3% said they were “Not very effective” and a scant 2.0% answered that they were “Not effective.”

Health and Recovery Peer (HARP) Program

A mere 5.9% of survey takers indicated that they have a HARP.

Reducing Hospital Admissions

When asked how effective their HARP was at reducing hospital admissions, 73.7% answered “Somewhat effective,” 15.8% answered “Very effective,” and 10.5% answered “Not very effective.” No one answered that their HARP was not effective.

Future of Wellness Programs

The majority of survey takers (59.5%) answered that their wellness program would grow in the future. Just over a quarter (27.9%) answered that things will stay the same. Only 3.2% answered that their wellness program will diminish. The most common “Other” responses (9.4%) were “We do not know,” “We will start one soon,” and “We hope it grows.”

Wellness Drawbacks

We asked to what extent participants agree with a handful of common negative thoughts about wellness and wellness programs. Very few respondents answered that they strongly agreed, with the highest response (9.9%) saying they strongly agreed that “There is inadequate protection of personal biometric information.”
More respondents were likely to “Somewhat agree” with many of the options. Most notably, 34.7% somewhat agreed that “Employers grab off the shelf programs so they can pay lip service to wellness,” and 32.9% answered “There is a lack of proof that workplace wellness programs are cost-effective and contribute to company performance.”
The highest of all responses was “Strongly disagree.” The four categories that received these highest responses (each around 40–45%) were:

  1. Programs are an intrusion of privacy.
  2. Programs result in over-screening that may be unnecessary and harmful.
  3. Programs are coercive and have punitive approaches that create resentment and lower employee morale.
  4. There is inadequate protection of personal biometric information.

General Wellness Program Comments

We ended our survey by asking if survey takers had anything else to share about wellness programs or wellness in general. Here are some of those responses:

  • “Senior management does not believe in the program.”
  • “I think we need to do a better job of making sure that individual companies and business as a whole have a direct interest in healthy, productive employees and supporting & promoting overall health and well-being.”
  • “Programs I have studied are not cost effective for a very small company.”
  • “Programs should be, and generally are, voluntary. It’s a benefit offered by the organization. And by offering this benefit the organization benefits as well.”
  • “A properly designed Wellness Program can be beneficial to the employees and help to control healthcare costs over time.”
  • “Our participation and employee satisfaction is high.”
  • “There is a concern that wellness programs invade the privacy of individuals and may also appear to be discriminatory. I am concerned about legal problems for HR.”
  • “In the case of our 822 outpatient clinic, where employee wellness is crucial, there never seems to be enough time to implement these programs. In other words, we acknowledge the problem but we’re too busy working that we don’t have the time for wellness. Let’s treat the problem not prevent it is the norm.”
  • “I don’t think they’re effective. We may implement one in the future, but people don’t feel that they should have to go through so many changes to receive affordable coverage.”
  • “Has anyone really measured the ROI?”
  • “A wellness program needs to be tailored to suit the culture and budget of the organization. For example, we have an open and trusting culture (we’re an employee-owned company) and so almost everything is done on an honor system and the program is designed around rewards only (no punitive aspects).”
  • “It is difficult to measure the exact ROI of the wellness program. However, it’s worth doing it cost effectively.”
  • “A program like this is as good as the management that drives it and the employees involved in it. It’s possible some environments (in CA) could have legal issues.”
  • “We’ve been trying to get a program off the ground for three years and have heard all of this arguments particularly from leadership. Leadership talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and workers of course see the difference.”
  • “Wellness programs work well as part of an overall theme of employee engagement.”
  • “Employees need to learn how to navigate the health care system and be pro-active about maintaining their health.”
  • “I have just completed a 10,000-word dissertation of the role of HR in health and well-being awareness that covered all 3 sectors and the awareness is 50% but the amount of business’s implementing it is only 46% of those surveyed. I am a strong believer and supporter of wellness at work.”

Who Responded?

A total of 646 participants responded to the 2016 Health and Wellness Survey, representing a diverse array of industries, business types, organizational sizes, and locations. Respondents hailed from all across the United States and also from around the world. Most of the respondents (25.4%) work in the U.S. South. Many respondents also work in the U.S. East Central region (24.2%), and the U.S. Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region (22.2%). Survey participants were also represented from the U.S. Far West region (11.1%), U.S. Central/Rocky Mountain/Southwest region (10.3%), and internationally (6.9%).
Most of the survey respondents (60.6%) answered that they were from the “private, for-profit” sector. Significantly fewer (19.2%) indicated they were from the “private, not-for-profit” sector. Only 10.9% of those polled answered that they were from the “government” sector, and only 9.3% answered that they were from the “public” sector.
Respondents identified themselves as being employed in 21 different industry categories as follows:

Please select the industry category that best describes the nature of your business.
Answer Options Response Percent
Manufacturing 19.1%
Health Care and Social Assistance 15.1%
Finance and Insurance 9.1%
Educational Services 8.0%
Professional, Scientific, Technical Services 7.4%
Public Administration 6.4%
Information (Media, Data, Telecommunication) 3.2%
Retail Trade 3.2%
Utilities 3.2%
Construction 2.6%
Wholesale Trade 2.6%
Administrative and Support Services 2.4%
Transportation and Warehousing 2.0%
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction 1.8%
Accommodation, Food Services 1.2%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 1.0%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 0.8%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting 0.6%
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 0.6%
Waste Management/Remediation Services 0.4%
Other Services (except Public Administration) 9.1%

Respondents worked for companies of all sizes as indicated by the following chart.