BOSTON — As more employers recognize the impact of financial wellness on employee health, a growing percentage of companies are expanding their well-being programs to include employee financial security, according to the 8th annual survey on corporate Health and Well-being from Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health®. The survey reveals 84 percent of companies now have financial security programs, such as access to debt management tools or student loan counseling, in their well-being strategies, an increase from 76 percent last year. Financial security programs are the third most-popular offering, following physical well-being programs (95 percent) and emotional health programs (87 percent).
This year’s survey indicates that employee incentives continue to be a critical part of corporate well-being programs. Nearly three-quarters of employers (74 percent) include employee incentives, with the average employee incentive amount increasing to $742, up from $651 in 2016 and $521 in 2013. Employers are also increasing incentives for spouses and domestic partners, with the average annual spouse/domestic partner incentive at $694, a 47 percent increase over the 2016 average of $471.
"As these programs evolve, employers are embracing a broader definition of well-being to increase participation and engagement among their workforce," said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president, Fidelity Benefits Consulting. "Today’s programs take more of a ‘health meets wealth’ approach and reflect a blend of financial, physical, and social/emotional programs to provide maximum support for members."
The most popular financial security programs are seminars and "lunch-n-learn" programs with 82 percent of employers expected to offer these in 2017. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) will offer access to tools to support key financial decisions including mortgages, wills and income protection. Another 71 percent expect to offer tools and resources to support emergency savings, debt management and budgeting. A quarter of employers plan to offer student loan counseling or repayment assistance.
The most popular physical well-being programs continue to be smoking cessation (91percent), physical activities/challenges (86 percent) and weight management (79 percent).
Standing up for wellness: ergonomic desks and healthier cafeteria options
There is a growing trend towards physical well-being programs that can have a healthy impact on employees at work. Currently, 55 percent of companies offer a "sit-to-stand" ergonomic desk or treadmill workstation, an increase from 43 percent last year. Employers also recognize the impact of fitness wearables on employee health – 30 percent will offer subsidies or discounts in 2017. Companies are also focusing on healthy on-site food options for their workforce – 48 percent have policies regarding healthy food options in their cafeteria, vending machines and catering. In addition, 28percent of organizations offer discounts or price differentials on healthy food options in the cafeteria.
Giving and volunteering opportunities continue to increase
The percentage of employers encouraging community involvement and charitable activities is increasing. The percentage of well-being plans that include team-building volunteer programs increased from 67 percent to 79 percent, while the percentage of employers offering a charitable match giving program increased from 65 percent to 71 percent. Employers are also adding cause-based collection drives, with the percentage of companies offering these programs increasing to 88 percent from 77 percent last year.
"The concept behind holistic well-being is to enable employees to meet their goals rather than tell them what they need to do," said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of National Business Group on Health. "Financial well-being is an important well-being pillar as it’s hard to engage employees on addressing health needs if they are struggling with managing a budget, putting food on the table or managing debt."
About the Survey
The 8th annual survey on corporate Health & Well-being from Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health® includes responses from 141 large and mid-sized organizations. The online survey was fielded during November and December 2016 among National Business Group on Health members and clients of Fidelity Investments.
About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health is the nation’s only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers’ perspective on national health policy issues and helping companies optimize business performance through health improvement, innovation and health care management. The Business Group leads initiatives to address the most relevant health care issues facing employers today and enables human resource and benefit leaders to learn, share and leverage best practices from the most progressive companies. Business Group members, which include 70 Fortune 100 companies, provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.
About Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting
Fidelity’s Benefits Consulting business helps mid- to large-size employers nationwide assess the effectiveness of their benefits programs. The business provides a comprehensive approach to benefits design, strategy, funding, communications and delivery by looking at clients’ health care and retirement plans before diagnosing business solutions. The group’s specialties include retirement and health care plan consulting, custom data administration, compliance and employee communication. Benefits Consulting has offices in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, London, New York City, Raleigh and San Francisco.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.0 trillion, including managed assets of $2.2 trillion as of February 28, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs 45,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.