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Companies Expand Wellness Programs to Focus on Improving Employees' Emotional and Financial Well-being

BOSTON — More employers are investing in "total well-being" programs that address areas such as financial and emotional health, according to the 7th annual survey1 on corporate Health & Well-being from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health®. The survey revealed employers are adding programs that help employees manage stress, improve their resiliency and assist with their financial challenges.

This year's survey results indicate employers recognize a 'healthy' employee may be affected by non-health factors and are including programs to address emotional and financial needs rather than focusing solely on physical health. In 2016, 87 percent of employers offer emotional or mental well-being programs and 76 percent provide financial health programs. When employers were asked about well-being programs in the future, 67 percent plan to expand their efforts and an additional 17 percent plan to maintain at the current level.

"Employers have long understood the importance of improving employee productivity, and are now focused on the factors that impact productivity, specifically, drivers of well-being, such as emotional stress and financial challenges to achieve their goals," said Adam Stavisky, senior vice president, Fidelity Benefits Consulting.

BASF, the world's largest chemical company, launched its wellness program in 2012. "As an employer with over 15,000 employees here in the U.S., we recognized the unique and important role we could play in helping our employees live a healthier lifestyle and improve their overall well-being. Since its launch a few years ago, our Healthy YOU wellness program has become a key part of our total offer, and we are seeing strong participation and engagement from employees," said Mollie O'Brien, Director, Total Rewards at BASF. "Based on this positive response, we are looking at ways to enhance the program in the future – for example, by strengthening our financial wellness offering – to continue to meet the needs of a diverse workforce."

Employers incorporate key programs in their well-being efforts

Stress management is by far the most popular emotional well-being program offered – 54 percent of employers currently offer this program and an additional 12 percent are planning to do so in 2017. Also popular is resiliency training, which helps employees manage setbacks in the workplace or in life outside work – 27 percent of employers offer this program, with another 20 percent planning to do so in 2017.

To help employees manage their financial well-being, almost three-quarters (73 percent) of companies surveyed offer on-site financial seminars, and 59 percent make a financial coach available to employees. Student loan repayment assistance – a benefit typically only offered in the public sector – will now be offered by 13 percent of employers in 2016, and another 21 percent are considering adding it in the future.

Percentage of employees receiving incentives rose over past year

In 2015, 81 percent of employees received at least some amount of incentives, up from 73 percent in 2014. The percent of employees receiving incentives steadily increased as employers expand well-being programs to appeal to additional elements of overall well-being, as well as provide employees with more ways to earn incentives. At the same time, as employers expand into new areas, they are moving away from outcomes-based incentives as one way to encourage employees to participate. The number of employers utilizing outcomes-based incentives is expected to drop from 44 percent in 2015 to 24 percent in 2016.

"Social factors and one's environment play an important role in employee engagement and in one's view of their overall well-being," said Brian Marcotte, CEO & President of National Business Group on Health. "We are seeing more companies step up their efforts to integrate financial and emotional well-being, social connectedness and job satisfaction with their more traditional efforts to support physical health."

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 71 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, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Raleigh and Dallas.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity's goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.0 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0 trillion as of January 31, 2016, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 25 million people invest their own life savings, nearly 20,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing nearly 10,000 advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients' money. Privately held for nearly 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.

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1. Online survey includes responses from 129 organizations. Survey was fielded from November 2015 through December 2015 among National Business Group on Health members and clients of Fidelity Investments.
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