Less-traditional benefits are quickly taking the stage as top wellness initiatives, finds a survey.

More traditional wellness initiatives such as health risk assessments (HRAs) and flu shots remain popular among workplaces, but the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans’ survey notices a growing emphasis on more non-traditional initiatives.

Read: 3 factors to consider before launching a wellness program

According to the survey, top non-traditional wellness initiatives include the following:

  • vacation time/time off use is encouraged (66%);
  • mental health coverage (63%);
  • tuition reimbursement (63%);
  • community charity drives (57%); and
  • on-site events/celebrations (50%).

Some of the more unusual offerings emerging are discounted or free wearable tracking devices, themed dress-up days, game leagues, financial education and workplace design changes such as collaborative workspaces, standing/treadmill desks and walking loops.

Read: How well is your wellness program?

Top traditional wellness initiatives include the following:

  • flu shot program (71%);
  • smoking-cessation program (54%);
  • HRAs (51%);
  • health screenings (50%); and
  • wellness competitions/fitness challenges (42%).

Organizations are offering wellness initiatives for different reasons—59% offer wellness primarily to invest in/increase worker health and engagement, while 41% primarily aim to control/reduce health-related costs. As organizations embrace both traditional and non-traditional wellness initiatives, it’s clear their efforts are creating results.

“Employers are taking a greater interest in the social and mental well-being of their employees,” says Julie Stich, director of research. “Both traditional and non-traditional wellness benefits are creating the return on investment employers are looking for in their workplace wellness programs.”

Of the responding organizations with wellness initiatives, about one in four (26%) is analyzing the return on investment (ROI) of their wellness program. Proof of wellness results is in high demand—just 4% of organizations that calculate wellness ROI also analyze the ROI of other initiatives/benefits.

Read: How companies keep employees healthy

Among organizations analyzing and aware of their wellness ROI, 93% are achieving positive ROI—the average ROI per $1 spent is $3. Among organizations tracking more specific wellness efforts, 54% said wellness efforts have improved engagement, 45% said wellness efforts reduced absenteeism, and 38% said wellness efforts have positively affected their organization’s overall bottom line.

Survey responses were received from 479 individuals from the U.S. and Canada, including benefits and HR professionals, financial managers and other professionals. Responding organizations represented a variety of sizes, regions and industries or jurisdictions.

Also read:

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

Join us on Twitter

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required