Do well-being programs make employees more engaged?

For decades, employers have focused on well-being programs’ impact on cost savings. Today, they’re realizing programs may also affect less tangible, but no less important, engagement metrics such as employee attitudes, loyalty, productivity, recruitment and retention.

In partnership with National Business Group on Health® (NBGH), Optum® surveyed 1,200 full-time employees from large U.S. employers (3,000+ employees) about their levels of engagement at work. Then we asked them about their access to, and participation in, a variety of well-being program categories.

The results determined that having the opportunity to access and participate in employer-sponsored well-being programs is significantly associated with key markers of engagement. It also impacts value outcomes like employer loyalty and job performance.

Compared to employees whose employer offers zero health and wellness programs, those who are offered 7–8 program categories are:

  • 117 percent more likely to be satisfied with their job
  • 178 percent more confident in navigating the health care system
  • 57 percent more likely to continue working for their employer

Compared to those who say they never participate in health and wellness programs (even though they have the option), those who participate frequently are:

  • 88 percent more likely to feel valued by their employer
  • 18 percent more likely to take responsibility for their health and well-being
  • 45 percent more likely to rate their work performance as higher than co-workers

Do some programs drive greater engagement?

The top three program categories with the greatest impact on employee engagement are chronic condition management; a physical work environment that supports healthy decisions; and programs that help people get the most value out of their prescription drug plan.

This study demonstrated a strong connection between employer-sponsored health and well-being programs and measures of engagement. When employees feel emotionally engaged, connected, healthy and loyal to their employers, imagine the impact on business results.

Interested in learning more? Read the Optum/NBGH Consumer Engagement Survey results.


About the Author:

Seth Serxner, Chief Health Officer, Optum
Seth Serxner’s deep knowledge of behavior change, population health and measurement allows him to visualize and deliver on program innovation. He has more than 25 years of experience in health and productivity management, and has published more than 30 articles.

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