Benefits and Compensation

Increased Use of Metrics, Incentives among 2017 Wellness Program Trends

An increased use of metrics, incentive and wearables are three trends in wellness programs according to a survey conducted among 8,000 of America’s Healthiest Employers, a leading independent recognition program for U.S. corporate population health.  The survey report, The State of Corporate Wellness, conducted by Springubk and Fitbit Health Solutions, reveals what America’s healthiest employers are doing to keep their workforce engaged and healthy.


cacaroot / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Here’s a glance at some of the trends from the report, including those mentioned above:

  • More than half (54%) of employers said they relied on metrics to measure program performance, with the most common being changes in health risk (62%), financial impact (58%) and positive clinical outcomes (53%). In addition, 7.6% of employers are planning on investing in health analytics software in the next year 16% of programs make real-time analytics data available to leadership.
  • 55% of employers are using financial incentives to motivate their employees. America’s Healthiest Employers reported using financial incentives as the most popular “carrot” for employees, with 23% offering wellness program participants a reduction in their health insurance premiums, 17% providing cash or gift cards, and 14% offering perks such as t-shirts and water bottles.
  • “The State of Corporate Wellness report shows that more than 35% of America’s Healthiest Employers are using wearable technology, like Fitbit, to help drive engagement with employees, improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs – 10% increase in usage since 2015,” said Adam Pellegrini, General Manager, Fitbit Health Solutions. “This increase in adoption shows that wearables are a key component of the most effective wellness programs.”
  • Employers are expanding their definitions of workplace wellness with 87% of wellness programs offering mental/emotional support and 76% offering financial security support.
  • 64% of America’s Healthiest Employers offer telehealth options to employees. The report notes that “These virtual visits are almost always less expensive than in-person care. And they also help with productivity, because the employee can often get the medical attention they need without leaving work.”

“We’re at an important moment in health. The confluence of data, technology and rise of specialized vendors are giving employers the tools they need to help stabilize cost and improve their population’s health,” said Phil Daniels, Co-Founder of the Healthiest Employer awards program. “What organizations choose to do in this moment will shape the future of healthcare in America.”

The full report also takes a closer look at measuring ROI, outlines best practices that companies can implement to improve wellness programs as well as actionable insights for employers to put these best practices to work for their organization.