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State of the Industry: Employee Engagement & Wellness in 2015 (Priorities, Part 1)

February 18, 2015 / Corporate Wellness

This is the first in a series of posts exploring the current state of the employee engagement and wellness industry.

It’s an exciting time for the employee engagement and well-being industry. Gone are the days when companies viewed these programs as ‘nice to do’ or ones that yielded ‘soft’ benefits.

Research shows that companies with high engagement scores perform better in key operational areas like productivity, absenteeism, turnover, safety and quality incidents, shrinkage, customer metrics, and profitability, according to Gallup. That’s not all. Research on employee engagement and productivity continues to show the basic health and well-being of employees indicates how engaged they’ll be on the job.

Business leaders care about and are measured against these metrics, so it’s no wonder they’re launching initiatives to boost employee engagement and well-being. They get it. A healthy, engaged workforce is good for business.

But what are companies actually doing to create that type of workforce, you ask?

We were curious, too. That’s why we recently teamed up with Human Capital Media, the research arm of Workforce magazine. Together, we surveyed 1,395 HR management professionals across a broad range of industries and organization sizes.

The goal? Gain a deep look at the state of the employee engagement and well-being industry, and discover how and why organizations are budgeting, implementing, measuring and improving employee engagement and wellness programs.

The result? A new report featuring rich data and insights about the state of the industry, and how organizations are using employee engagement and well-being programs to improve their employees’ lives and boost their businesses.

Over the next few weeks we’ll dig into the report’s top findings here on The Uprising. Up first – a look at what’s on executives’ and HR managers’ priority lists for 2015.

2015 Plans & Priorities

In the year ahead, companies say they’ll continue to invest in employee engagement, talent recruiting and retention, and employee well-being. Most executives and HR managers agree on these priorities, yet differ slightly on what they view as most important.

figure1-2015-top-priorties

 

Unsurprisingly, executives’ priorities tend to align with overall organizational goals while managers’ priorities tend to align with functional objectives. That’s why executives’ are more concerned with employee engagement as a whole vs. talent retention specifically.

Companies will also continue to look for ways to resolve industry-specific challenges in the coming year. For example, we asked respondents to share their top challenges for 2015. Seventy-two percent said they needed to find an executive sponsor for their wellness program. That number rose significantly for respondents in the food industry – nearly all said that this was their top challenge.

Here’s a look at industry-specific priorities for 2015:

Finally, while most companies agree on top priorities for 2015, they also concur about what’s not a priority. And moving to a private health exchange is the least of their concerns.

Nearly 80 percent of companies say they’re not considering a switch to a private health exchange. What’s more, close to 70 percent of all organizations, executives, and HR Managers agreed that considering such a switch was at the bottom of their 2015 priority lists.

It seems companies simply aren’t convinced that such a switch would truly yield beneficial outcomes and long-term savings. This year, many employers will take a wait and see approach before considering a shift.

For more on what tops executives’ and managers’ priority lists for 2015, get a copy of the full report and its findings. Next week, we’ll take a closer look at what’s happening with budgets for employee engagement and well-being programs in 2015. Meantime, tell us what’s top priority for you and your organization in 2015 when it comes to employee engagement and well-being. Post a comment or tweet us @virginpulse.

Katie Tierney is Director of Marketing at Virgin Pulse where she leads marketing communications and public relations. One of Virgin Pulse’s original employees, Katie led efforts to create National Employee Wellness Month, a campaign that helps business leaders learn how companies are successfully engaging employees in healthy lifestyles. A pop culture champ and dance buff, Katie can usually be found busting a move in a Zumba class (or anywhere, really). Follow Katie on twitter: @k_tierney.

Terry D Kennedy |

Katie – Your work is not only revealing in your post, it is compelling as well in wanting answers that create long term success pathways.

I think the business ( employers / employees ) management success is still missing the mark. I believe it is Virgin Pulse that has uncovered the critical component — an “employees personal engage-ability” proper that determines the quality, longevity of any wellness, well-being, or successful business outcome hoped for…

As you observed “…executives’ priorities tend to align with overall organizational goals while managers’ priorities tend to align with functional objectives. That’s why executives’ are more concerned with employee engagement as a whole vs. talent retention specifically.”

I see that these perspectives miss step one by recognizing the real value shown and given to each employee personally.

I think VP has identified that the care of the employee at the most personal level will be more likely lead to fruitful engagement that is long term. An environment that loves people and uses things to be successful will hands down out perform the other environment that uses people and loves things. Hope that is not to abstract.

All the best keep the great work coming 😉

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