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Incentives to keep employees healthy up from average of $204 in 2008 to $329 in 2009
Almost two out of three U.S. companies offer programs to keep employees healthy, and 66 percent of those offering programs use incentives, with a healthy number showing a return on investment (ROI) of greater than $1 for each dollar spent.
The findings are part of a survey, now in its third year, that tracks how much U.S. employers pay in incentives, what activities they incentivize, and how success and ROI are measured. The report,
How Employers Use Incentives to Keep Employees Healthy: Perks, Programs and Peers, was conducted by
Health2 Resources, a firm providing health care trend research.
"During tough economic times, employees who take control of their health and are more engaged and active in their own health are valuable assets," says Katherine H. Capps, president of Health2 Resources. "We are not talking about $5 here or there. We are talking about serious investment into productivity, made by employers with as few as 200 employees, for as much as $1,400 a year per employee. Employers are taking control of health care costs by creating smart, effective new strategies to keep employees healthy, and to keep employees at work."
Among the key findings:
"Employers are becoming more sophisticated about measuring the return on investment from wellness and disease management programs, and today's economic outlook dictates that these programs bring a positive ROI," says Sean Sullivan, president and CEO of the not-for-profit
Institute for Health and Productivity Management. "No other kind of health management program has been given the same scrutiny as health and productivity management in measuring its effectiveness in reducing total health-related costs, including sick days, disability claims and impaired performance at work. Employees are too valuable a human capital investment for companies to take their health and productivity for granted."
Company case examples in the report further demonstrate the evolving nature of health and wellness and disease management programs and how employers are working to match the specific health improvement needs of their organizations to the programs that are most effective.
Stephen Milleris an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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