‘Missed opportunities’ in wellness arena: Survey

Few employers targeting risk areas, measuring ROI or taking strategic approach
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/22/2011

In looking at health and wellness in the workplace, there appear to be a few disconnects or missed opportunities when it comes to employer initiatives, measurement and strategy, according to a survey by Sun Life.

Work-related stress is the most important health risk affecting employees (56 per cent), followed by smoking, mental health issues and high blood pressure (35 per cent each) and diabetes (31 per cent), found the survey of 677 Canadian employers. However, the nine most popular wellness initiatives offered are employee assistance programs (EAPs), flu vaccine programs, first aid or CPR courses, employee recognition, work station assessments, time off, flexible work, staff appreciation events and newsletters with wellness information.

“There are disconnects regarding respondent-identified health concerns and wellness initiatives offered,” said the 2011 Buffett National Wellness Survey. “For instance, the majority of the top 10 health concerns are direct risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, yet most of the top 10 initiatives identified do not address these risk factors.”