More than two-thirds (67%) of U.S. employees said participation in workplace wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals, according to new research.

The Wellness Effect: The Impact of Workplace Programs, published by Humana and The Economist Intelligence Unit, surveyed more than 200 U.S.-based HR executives and managers, as well as 500 full-time employees who participate in workplace wellness programs.

It found 91% of employee respondents have improved their fitness while 89% said participation has improved their overall happiness and well-being.

Read: Communication and customization key to health and wellness programs

“About seven in 10 companies in the U.S. have been broadly successful in establishing a culture of wellness, and employee recognition of that effort is rewarding employers with increased productivity, retention, workplace engagement and improved morale,” said Beth Bierbower, president of Humana’s group segment.

“The survey findings suggest that employers that tailor well-designed wellness programs to specific employee needs, and then make them easily accessible in terms of time and location, achieve highest positive impact.”

However, the survey also found that 51% of employee respondents and 46% of employer respondents pointed to one major obstacle to greater participation in wellness programs: lack of time.

Read: Employers tweaking corporate health plans to appeal to millennial workers

“Another pervasive threat to wellness, and one that has not yet been adequately addressed, is work-related stress,” said Bierbower. “Over half of employees believe work-related stress has taken a toll on their health. More formalized stress management programs must be a top priority for employers and employees in the future.”

Less than half (44%) of employer respondents said stress management programs would be the single most effective way of establishing a culture of wellness. While only 14% of employees said they regularly participate in stress management programs, some 71% said wellness programs have had at least a moderate impact in lowering stress.

Read: How stress management can reduce absenteeism

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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