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April 17, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Despite Recession, Workplace Wellness Programs Continue to Grow

Filed under: Benefits — Tags: , , 7:58 am

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.