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Virgin Pulse Survey Reveals Investing in Employees’ Well-Being Drives Engagement, Company Culture and Recruitment

In tandem with the launch of the sixth annual National Employee Wellness Month, Virgin Pulse has released the results of “The Business of Healthy Employees 2014: A Survey of Workplace Health Priorities,” unveiling how organizations are turning disengaged employees into energetic, highly productive workforces.

In collaboration with Workforce Magazine, Virgin Pulse surveyed 361 organizations and 3,822 employees to gain insights into the challenges and benefits of workplace wellness programs. The results reveal that employees are seeing the benefits of workplace wellness programs, reporting improved company culture and health, and increased energy and productivity in the workplace. Eighty-seven percent of employees say wellness programs positively impact company culture and 96 percent are participating in them to improve their own health, according to the survey. Not only do these programs benefit the workforce, but 88 percent of employee respondents indicated that having access to health and wellness programs provides employers with a leg up in the recruitment process.

Despite these findings, many employers are struggling to commit to and measure proven strategies that drive employee engagement, productivity, and happiness. Forty eight percent of employers report they don’t track increased engagement and 53 percent report they don’t measure improved productivity. The survey also revealed that employers are leaving money on the table. Nearly half of the employers surveyed, 43 percent, aren’t planning to take advantage of incentives offered as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“We’re in the midst of an engagement crisis. Overall employee disengagement is being reported at 70 percent in the U.S. and even higher globally. That means even on a good day, your employees aren’t tapping their full brainpower or reaching their full productivity potential,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse. “Making an investment in employees and demonstrating a commitment to them and their well-being is a straightforward way to help employees make daily changes that lead to sustainable healthy behaviors and improvements in workplace engagement and productivity.”

The responses from both employers and employees showed that employees are engaging with wellness programs more than ever (9 out of 10 take advantage of wellness offerings). As a result employers that make the investment in wellness are experiencing the increased productivity it takes to move their bottom line. But there is more to be done, and despite access to financial incentives, budget remains a challenge for many organizations.

Key Survey Findings

  • Wellness drives company culture: 87 percent of employees state that wellness positively impacted work culture, an increase of 10 percent from 2013
  • Wellness programs attract talent: 88 percent of employees state that having health and wellness programs designates an organization as an “employer of choice”
  • Employees want to be healthy: 96 percent of employees participate to improve their own health, making improved health a bigger motivator than financial incentives
  • It’s not just about physical well-being — mental health is a priority, too: 52 percent of employers offered services for mental health and depression management in 2014, a significant 14 percent increase from last year
  • Measurement remains a significant challenge: 30 percent of employers are dissatisfied with measurement strategies, and many organizations are not tracking key areas: 48 percent are not tracking enhanced engagement, and more than half of the organizations don’t track improved productivity (53 percent)
  • Employees want more: Employers are not meeting employee demand for access to physical activity programs, healthy food choices, and on-site gym facilities or fitness classes
  • Employers are leaving money on the table: Nearly half of the employers surveyed, 43.1 percent, aren’t planning to take advantage of incentives offered as part of the ACA

To download a free summary of the extensive survey findings visit: http://connect.virginpulse.com/files/PulsePaper_BusinessHealthyEmployees2014.pdf

June Marks the Sixth Annual National Employee Wellness Month

The survey marks the kickoff of the sixth annual National Employee Wellness Month. Created in 2009 by Virgin Pulse in partnership with the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, National Employee Wellness Month helps business leaders learn how companies successfully engage employees in healthy lifestyles. It showcases how companies can support employees by creating healthy cultures, improving their health and well-being while lowering healthcare costs and driving engagement.

This year, more than 200 companies, including AOL, Coca-Cola, Nationwide Insurance, and Walgreens, have pledged their support, joining sponsoring organizations Virgin Pulse, the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and WorldatWork to demonstrate their commitment to employee health and well-being.

Anne C. Ruddy, CCP, president and CEO, WorldatWork said, "A healthy and productive workforce gives businesses a much-needed competitive edge. National Employee Wellness Month provides organizations with an excellent opportunity to make overall employee well-being a top priority. WorldatWork is proud to be a sponsor of this important initiative."

“Fostering and maintaining a culture of wellness in the workplace is more important than ever. With so many Americans affected by obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions, National Employee Wellness Month is an outstanding effort to help people work toward addressing our country’s obesity epidemic,” said Scott Kahan, MD, MPH, Director, Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance.

"Treating people with chronic conditions accounts for 84 percent of what is spent on healthcare. In 2011 this totaled more than $2 trillion, but doesn’t even include those costs associated with lost productivity – estimated at more than $1 trillion in loss to our economy each year," said Ken Thorpe, Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. "There is an undeniably strong link between the vitality of an organization and the health and wellness of its employees – resulting in increased job morale, satisfaction, commitment and performance. We can and must do a lot better addressing these important issues and National Employee Wellness Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness."

Participating organizations and employees are encouraged to join the social media conversation by sharing stories during National Employee Wellness Month on Facebook, Twitter (tweet to @VirginPulse, hashtag #NEWM2014), and Instagram (hashtag #NEWM2014).

About Virgin Pulse
Virgin Pulse, part of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, helps employers create a workforce with the energy, focus, and drive necessary to fully engage at work and in life. With its award-winning, online platform, the company fosters healthy daily habits and sustainable behavior change that help employees thrive at work and across all aspects of life. Unlike narrowly-focused employee health and engagement solutions, Virgin Pulse is a hub of consumer-focused strategies and innovative tools that set the foundation for a company’s engagement efforts. More than 250 industry leaders representing 1.5M+ employees have selected Virgin Pulse’s programs to reinvigorate their workplace. Learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

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