Health, mental health and wellness will get a boost from employers next year.

According to Morneau Shepell’s annual survey of Compensation and Trends in Human Resources, 57% of employers said that a top priority for 2015 is improving health and well-being, said Joy Sloane a partner with Morneau Shepell, speaking on the findings for workplace health and disability management last week in Toronto.

Fifty-four percent of employers are currently analyzing drug claims (with 17% planning to do this in the next 12 to 18 months). Fifty-two percent are looking at their disability claims by diagnostic category (with 12% planning to do this next year), and 23% are monitoring health risk assessment results (with 14% planning to do this next year). And 20% are looking at these three elements together, with more than double wanting to take this tack in the future.

Reducing short-term disability (STD) costs is also a priority for 2015 for 39% of those surveyed. The top two causes of STD are mental health and musculoskeletal conditions, said Sloane.

Employers are moving away from health and wellness programs with no measurable results, Sloane said, adding that it will take time for employers to do this.

“You need to identify where your population is and what they need. The health promotion strategy needs to be a strategy that actively supports healthy living,” she said. “Employers need to offer tools to do that. It’s not just about saying it.”

As for mental health, 20% of employers will be looking to implement the Standards for Psychological Health and Safety next year. And 38% of employers want to improve mental health in the workplace in 2015, with 28% planning for mental health training for managers.

The survey interviewed more than 250 organizations (encompassing 800,000 employees) from a mix of regions and industries across Canada.

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Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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