New Survey Reveals What Really Motivates Employees to Improve Their Health and Well-Being

By Welltok Marketing

Personalization, providing rewards and understanding what employees really want are key to maximizing value in employer-sponsored health and well-being programs according to results from a new national survey from Welltok and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).

Whispers from the Water Cooler explores how employees view an employer’s involvement in their health, how they value their benefits and who motivates them at work. It also examines the impact of rewards, uncovers participation motivators and exposes where opinions differ by gender, income and age.

Welltok and NBGH reviewed the survey findings during a recent webinar and shared their insights about how employers can maximize the value of what they are offering, regardless of their current levels of employee participation. We summarized the highlights of the survey for you, but you can download a full report of the findings and how to apply them to your workforce here


Notable highlights from Whispers from the Water Cooler:

Satisfaction with health and well-being programs is high, but more personalization is needed. Most participants (81 percent) saw a positive impact on their physical well-being and more than 60 percent agreed or strongly agreed that including family in such programs would likely increase their participation. For those that did not participate, 37 percent did not find them personally relevant and 20 percent didn’t know they were available, a strong indication that greater personalization and awareness is needed to drive employee engagement.

Rewards work for all employees, regardless of income and age. The majority (91 percent) would engage in healthier behaviors if they were rewarded, including those who had an income of at least $200,000 (78 percent). Nearly all employees under 35-years-old agreed (98 percent), but those over 55 weren’t quite as motivated by rewards (85 percent).

Colleagues and direct managers are top motivators. 86 percent ranked their colleagues as one of the top motivators to improving their overall health and well-being at work, followed closely by their direct manager (57 percent). Perceptions varied by age, however. Millennials were partial to their direct manager’s influence (64 percent) but less so to human resources (HR) (24 percent) whereas their 55 or older counterparts were less motivated by direct managers (51 percent) and more influenced by HR (40 percent).

Younger and lower income employees say employers should help them to become more financially secure. More than half (63 percent) of the households making less than $50,000 wanted employers to play a role in their financial well-being, while that figure dropped to less than half (44 percent) for those making $200,000 or more. Looking at age, 60 percent of participants between 18 and 34 thought employers should be involved in financial health, whereas less than half of those 45 and older agreed. Gender impacted these perceptions as well – 58 percent of females felt employers should play a role in employees’ financial health versus 48 percent of males.

There is a role for employers in improving health and well-being, but participation still lags. When asked about the role employers should play in employee health, getting cost effective care and providing emotional/personal support resources ranked highest among respondents (77 percent and 74 percent agreed or strongly agreed, respectively). The majority of employees also see a role for their employer in helping them to stop unhealthy behaviors or managing financial issues (53 percent agreed or strongly agreed). Yet participation in employer-sponsored programs remains low. For example, emotional health and financial security programs had the lowest levels of participation – 24 and 37 percent. Even physical health programs have room for improvement – only 48 percent of employees had participated in a program to help them improve their physical health.

Want more? Click here to get a full report of the survey findings and learn how to apply them to your workforce.