A new report, Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies, finds that employers’ views of wellness have evolved over the last seven years and increasingly are connecting employee well-being with the performance of their business.

This latest report, which includes more than 1,000 employers in 37 countries, was conducted by Buck Consultants at Xerox and sponsored by Cigna and the Global Healthy Workplace Awards.

Interestingly, 78 percent of the world’s employers strongly are committed to creating a workplace culture of health in order to boost individual engagement and organizational performance, but there is a significant gap between employers’ stated desire to create a culture of health and their current progress in achieving this goal.

Regardless, the survey found that a large number of employers worldwide are making investments in wellness:

  • Globally, too much stress, too little exercise and a poor diet remain the top wellness-related areas of focus for employers.
  • In the United States, employers cite health care costs as their top reason for sponsoring wellness programs. Outside the United States, employers use wellness programs to improve employee morale and to reduce sick days and presenteeism.
  • HR polices related to flexible work arrangements and paid time off ranked as the number one component of wellness programs globally.
  • 43 percent of employers 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.  
  • Employee wellness communication – with personalization of employee messages –closely is 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.