California Employer Wellness Programs Draw More Participants Compared to Previous Year, SHRM Survey Shows

Apr 23, 2014

About one-half of organizations offer reward or incentive to employees to participate in wellness initiatives

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More California employees are taking advantage of wellness initiatives offered by their employers, the Society for Human Resource Management found in a survey.

Sixty-one percent of California organizations offer a wellness program, resource or service to their employees. That compares with 72 percent of overall U.S. organizations, according to SHRM’s Employee Benefits in California Survey, which was released today at the CalSHRM State Legislative and HR Conference in Sacramento.

Fifty-four percent of the California organizations offering wellness initiatives noted an increase in employee participation over the previous year. Almost one-half (49 percent) of California organizations offered an incentive or reward to their employees. Of these, almost nine out of 10 organizations noted that offering incentives or rewards was effective in getting employees to participate in the programs.

The survey showed that wellness programs were a “win-win” for employees and employers. The majority of organizations in the state (76 percent) that offer wellness initiatives perceived them as effective in improving employees’ overall physical health. And 63 percent viewed them as effective in reducing health care costs.

The survey of more than 370 randomly selected SHRM members in California and more than 440 in the United States was conducted in May and June of 2013. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Also included in the survey were California-specific data on health care, communicating about benefits, leveraging benefits to recruit and retain employees, and flexible work arrangements. Among the other findings:

Health Care

  • 79 percent of California organizations were very concerned about controlling health care costs.
  • More than two out of five organizations (44 percent) increased employees’ contributions to battle increasing health care costs.
  • But 36 percent were not sure if employees will be responsible for the majority of health care costs in the next three to five years.

Leveraging Benefits to Recruit Employees

  • 30 percent of organizations in California reported having difficulty recruiting employees, and one-third leverage the benefits they offer to recruit employees.
  • Health care was the benefit most frequently used to recruit highly skilled workers in California (cited by 73 percent).

For details, visit the SHRM Research website.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at, 703-535-6260 or Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management

Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMCalif.


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