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Survey Says: Wellness Programs Improve Overall Satisfaction
It seems that employees’ satisfaction with wellness programs spills over into satisfaction with their benefits programs and their jobs in general

We’ve talked about workplace wellness programs in the past, and we’ve touched on reports that employees appreciate them, but now we can add evidence of improved employee satisfaction reaching well beyond the wellness programs themselves.

This news is one of the key findings of the Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey for 2017. Here are some of the points from the survey that I found most interesting

  • 63% of employees with access to wellness programs said that their overall benefits plans at work met their need “extremely well or very well,” while only 46% of employees without wellness programs said the same;
  • 62% of employees with wellness programs said that their employers effectively helped them manage stress, compared to only 37% for those without wellness programs;
  • 66% of the wellness program people said they felt an obligation to help their employers control the costs of their benefits programs, compared to 57% of non-program respondents, and, interestingly,
  • 86% of employees with wellness programs agreed with the statement, ‘I am satisfied with my job,’ compared to only 62% for those without.

I think the key point to keep in mind here is that these results refer to overall employee satisfaction with their jobs and their benefits packages, and not just the wellness program component. It’s what Sanofi calls the “ripple effect” of wellness programs

There are also some interesting results on the other side of the coin

  • 53% of plan members feel that their workplace culture encourages wellness in the 2017 survey, down from 62% in 2012; and,
  • 64% of plans sponsors feel that their workplace culture encourages wellness in 2017, down from 90% in 2012.

It’s always risky trying to draw conclusions from survey numbers, but I think they mean members and sponsors today have a more realistic understanding of the subject and are setting a higher standard. In other words, 90% of plan sponsors may have thought they were doing fine in 2012, but today they know more about what makes a good wellness program, and they want to be doing a whole lot better.

This is the Sanofi Canada’s 20th annual survey on private healthcare plans. It was conducted for the company by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of TC Media Content Research Group, and included a national sample of 1,500 primary holders of group health plans.

The survey report is entitled Winds of Change, which is really significant if you look at how the results have changed over the last 20 years. There’s a great depth of detail in this report, but Danny Peak, Head of Private Markets at Sanofi calls attention to the following trends:

  • 53% of all plan members say their benefits plans meet their needs extremely or very well, down from 73% in 1999;
  • 68% of plan members feel their employers are more interested in holding costs down than in providing the best benefits, up from 51% in 2000;
  • plan sponsors estimated that 32% of their employees had chronic conditions, while, in fact, 57% do;
  • 51% of employers offer wellness programs, and 31% reported planning to spend more on their programs, down from 68% with plans for increased spending in 2011; and,
  • - 70% of plan members would be happy to receive targeted health information, based on their claims histories, up from 58% just a year ago.

From our point of view as benefits consultants, the final bit of data in the survey with regard to workplace wellness is also pretty interesting: 66% of plan sponsors with wellness programs want their benefits consultants and insurance carriers to do more to help them, and 77% want to see more integration of benefits and wellness programs.

This matches up pretty closely with what I’ve been hearing from our clients and, as regular blog readers will know, it’s something we’ve been working on for a long time.

If there is a topic that you would like me to write about, please email me at bill@penmore.com.

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