Top Takeaways from NBGH and Fidelity About Wellbeing Programs

By Lisa Suter

For eight years the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and Fidelity Investments have reliably conducted THE industry-defining survey on employer wellbeing trends and investments.

I tuned into their webinar to capture the key findings, so you don’t have to! I won’t bury the headline – the majority of the 141 large employers surveyed classify wellbeing programs as a critical component of their overall business strategy. 

With a healthy percent of companies embracing the value of employee health programs, what’s new and relevant to you? Here are the top 3 findings that stood out to me and some additional tips based on our experience:

1. The definition of wellbeing has expanded

Wellbeing goes far beyond exercising and eating right, which are still important by the way! Wellbeing is now also intertwined with financial health, social connectedness, and community involvement – and for good reason. All of these aspects impact the health status of an employee. Financial stress can take an emotional and physical toll on an employee if they are worried about how they will pay for childcare or rent. Just a few years ago, most companies provided support only for physical health with a few trailblazing employers leading the way in offering financial wellbeing support. Now, an average of 72% report inclusion of financial security, community involvement and social connectedness in their wellbeing strategy.

Pro tip: While it’s important to support health holistically, don’t overwhelm the employee with too many offerings. Personalize recommendations based on the individual’s need. For example, a stress management and nutrition program would be ideal for a new mom. Whereas, a sleep solution may be unrealistic. 

2. Incentives reach all-time high 

This year, employers are planning to spend an average of $742 per employee on incentive-based health and wellness programs – reaching an all-time high. That’s a double-digit percent increase (14%) from last year.

This is no surprise since incentives work! Over 90% of employees would engage in healthier behavior if they are rewarded, according to a complementary survey that we conducted with NBGH on the employee perspective of wellbeing programs. It’s also important to note that not everyone is driven or motivated by the same kind of incentive(s). Some employees are motivated by gift cards; others may be motivated by more PTO to spend quality time with family.

Pro tip: Work with your platform partner to align incentives and rewards with specific actions and behaviors.

3. Make health a family affair 

More and more companies are seeing the value of engaging spouses and domestic partners in health initiatives too. Three out of four companies are offering select health and wellbeing programs to spouses and nearly 70% of companies plan to offer incentives. Again, these findings are validated by employees in our recent survey with 68% of employees agreeing or strongly agreeing that including family makes them more likely to participate.

Pro tip: Kids are the key to getting families more active. Evidence shows that motivating kids to improve health behaviors can have a positive impact on the entire family. Parents often join in and are motivated to change health behaviors as well.

Now that you've gotten some insight from employers, check out what employees are saying. Download Whispers from the Water Cooler to find out what motivates employees to improve their health and well-being.