Personal involvement can affect wellness program participation rates

Health and wellness initiatives achieve better outcomes when leaders visibly support them, according to a new study — particularly when leaders actively participate in the programs and recognize employees who have achieved health-related accomplishments.

Organizations in which leaders take part in company wellness programs have a higher median rate of employee satisfaction with the programs (83 percent), compared to organizations where leaders do not actively participate in health-oriented efforts (66 percent).

Offering a financial incentive can boost program approval — six percent more employees said they were satisfied with health and wellness initiatives when a monetary motivation was involved. However, the research found leadership publicly acknowledging employees’ efforts has the most influence on company wellness program participation rates.

Organizations where leaders recognize employees for embracing healthy habits were also more likely to say their health and wellness initiatives have measurably improved population health (91 percent) and medical plan costs (87 percent) than organizations that don’t commend employees for their well-being efforts (83 percent and 81 percent, respectively).

In addition, employers that have a formal, written strategic employee wellness program plan in place — 56 percent, according to the study responses — tend to achieve better health improvement outcomes than those that do not.

For more on the study and corresponding report, published by the Health Enhancement Research Organization and Mercer, view this information about the findings.