Employers are continuing to add workplace wellness programs despite the ongoing recession, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health.
Nearly 58% of companies surveyed offer lifestyle improvement programs, up from 43% in 2007, and 56% offer health coaches, compared with 42% two years ago, according to the survey of 489 large U.S. employers conducted in January.
However, employee participation remains low.
Forty percent of companies surveyed said less than 5% of their workers participate in a weight-management program offered. Financial incentives do help drive participation in smoking-cessation and weight-management programs, the employers reported.
Supporting the trend data in the small business sector, HRN began a wellness program in 2008 by offering to pay a percentage of employee gym memberships. Approximately 20% of HRN employees are taking advantage of the benefit.