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Employers Worldwide Step Up Investments in Workers’ Wellness; Look to Wellness to Drive Company Performance

August 6, 2014

78 percent report strong priority to create a culture of health

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seventy-eight percent of the world’s employers are strongly committed to creating a workplace culture of health, to boost individual engagement and organizational performance.

A new survey of employers worldwide illustrates their investments in wellness: 43 percent say they created a brand identity for their employee wellness programs, 52 percent offer health insurance premium reductions, and 65 percent believe wellness programs are extremely or very important to attract and retain workers.

According to “Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies,” employers’ views of wellness have evolved over the last seven years. This latest report was conducted by Buck Consultants at Xerox (NYSE: XRX), with lead sponsorship by Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) and the Global Healthy Workplace Awards.

“When we began this survey in 2007, employers were focused on basic health promotion activities,” said Dave Ratcliffe, principal, Buck Consultants at Xerox. “Today, our sixth survey shows an evolution in employer thinking to a much more holistic and measurable approach. Workers’ wellness is now viewed as a state of well-being across the spectrum of health, wealth, and career. Wellness is part of the employee value proposition. Social media, gamification, mobile technology, automated coaching, and personalized communication are all part of the mix.”

The commitment to employee wellness and a corporate culture of health prevails even as the challenges identified by Buck’s previous surveys persist. Participation rates indicate that employers are still struggling to find effective approaches to motivate workers. And there is a significant gap between employers’ stated desire to create a culture of health and their current progress in achieving this goal.

Survey findings show that 52 percent of employers worldwide are measuring the outcomes from their wellness programs – up from 36 percent in 2012. Yet, in the U.S., 59 percent of employers say they don’t know if their wellness programs are having an impact on health care cost trend (their top-stated objective).

“The globalization of employers’ wellness programs among multinational companies has risen significantly over the last seven years, from 34 percent in 2008 to 56 percent in 2014,” said Sheldon Kenton, senior vice president, Cigna Global Employer Sales. “This has occurred even though it is challenging for employers to create a global wellness strategy because of differing cultures, laws and practices around the world.”

Other key findings of Buck’s global wellness study include:

  • Human Resource polices related to flexible work arrangements and paid time off ranked as the number one component of wellness programs globally, with Employee Assistance Programs ranking number two, driven by their prevalence in the U.S., Canada, Africa and Australia.
  • Globally, too much stress, too little exercise and a poor diet remain the top wellness-related areas of focus for employers. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, worker safety is the number one concern.
  • In the U.S., employers cite health care costs as their top reason for sponsoring wellness programs. Outside the U.S., employers use wellness programs to improve employee morale and to reduce sick days and presenteeism – when employees are at work but not fully functioning. Employers are making the connection between health and productivity.
  • Employee wellness communication – with personalization of employee messages – is closely linked to health care cost trend reduction. One hundred percent of the U.S. companies reporting a lower health care cost trend of six or more percentage points send their employees targeted wellness emails. The use of wellness mailings to employees’ homes also is on the rise, recognizing the influence that household members have on each other’s health.

    Buck Consultants at Xerox conducted the survey in association with Cigna, Wolf Kirsten International Health Consulting and the Global Healthy Workplace Awards.

    About the survey

    Buck’s sixth global wellness survey analyzed responses from more than 1,000 organizations in 37 countries. Responses are provided by employers who choose to participate and are not a scientifically randomized sample.

    The full report is available to the media at no cost by contacting Ed Gadowski at Edward.Gadowski@xerox.com or +1-910-253-9816. It is available to other interested parties for $495 by visiting www.bucksurveys.com.

    About Buck Consultants at Xerox

    Buck is the consulting strength of Xerox’s Human Resource Services. Buck offers advisory, technology and administration solutions to effectively manage talent management programs while engaging employees in their health, wealth and career. Learn more at www.xerox.com/hrconsulting.

    About Xerox

    Since the invention of Xerography more than 75 years ago, the people of Xerox (NYSE: XRX) have helped businesses simplify the way work gets done. Today, we are the global leader in business process and document management, helping organizations of any size be more efficient so they can focus on their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., we have more than 140,000 Xerox employees and do business in more than 180 countries, providing business services, printing equipment and software for commercial and government organizations. Learn more at www.xerox.com.

    About Cigna

    Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 80 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

    About International Health Consulting

    International Health Consulting helps international corporations, organizations and governments improve the quality of life of their respective populations through innovative, culturally appropriate and cost-effective health promotion programs. Learn more at www.wolfkirsten.com.

    About Global Healthy Workplace Awards

    The Global Healthy Workplace Awards is the first global awards program recognizing healthy workplaces. The GHWAwards Summit brings together leaders in global health and well-being and is co-hosted by International Health Consulting and i-genius. The Awards launched in April 2013 with its first global Awards Summit taking place in London, UK, followed by the 2nd Summit taking place in Shanghai, China, 2014. The 3rd Global Summit will take place in Florianopolis, Brazil in 2015. http://www.globalhealthyworkplace.org.

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    Source: Business Wire


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