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Wellness Spend Up, But Measurement is Lacking

This article accompanies Innovations in Wellness

Friday, April 1, 2011
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Despite spending more on employee wellness programs in 2010, only 37 percent of U.S. employers actually measure their program's effectiveness, according to a global survey released by Buck Consultants.

 

Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness (PDF) found that wellness programs continued to gain momentum this year among U.S.-based organizations as a key strategy to reduce the cost of providing healthcare, improve worker productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Employers spent 35 percent more -- about $220 -- on each employee who participated in a wellness program compared to 2009.

Many organizations "simply don't know how to measure their results, or they don't have the resources to do so," says Barry Hall, a Buck principal who directed the survey, even though those companies that do measure the impact of their wellness initiatives are more successful at improving their employees' health and overall wellness.

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The study found that the fastest-growing components of wellness programs are technology-driven tools. In three years, employers around the world expect a six-fold increase in their use of mobile technology -- such as smartphones -- to support employee wellness initiatives.

These results were among the key findings of Buck's fourth annual global wellness survey, which analyzed responses from more than 1,200 organizations in 47 countries representing more than 13 million employees.

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