Employers See Wellness Programs As Key To Improving Employee Health And Containing Rising Healthcare Costs

ADP survey reveals wellness programs are part of a human resource strategy for many large and midsized employers to improve employee health and control costs, but majority don't measure return on investment

ROSELAND, N.J. – APRIL 3, 2012 – A new ADP® survey shows that wellness programs are one of the best ways for employers to promote a healthy workforce, contain rising healthcare expenses, and generate productivity among their employees.

However, while 79 percent of large and 44 percent of midsized companies offer wellness programs, over 60 percent of these companies do not measure their return on investment. Yet, the majority of midsized and large companies report their wellness programs met or exceeded their senior executives’ expectations in regards to reducing overall healthcare costs.

Are Wellness Programs Offerred to Employees?

“Wellness programs are employers’ ‘next best hope’ for containing healthcare expenses,” said Tim Clifford, President of Benefits Services for National Accounts at ADP, Inc., a leading provider of human resource management, payroll and benefits administration services.  “These programs can also increase productivity without the negative impact on employee morale of layoffs or cutting plan options – yet few companies are measuring their return on investment from wellness initiatives.”

Clifford noted that using organizations like ADP’s Strategic Advisory Services group, which provides benefits intelligence and analysis to existing clients, can help employers assess the investment return from programs like wellness.

From the ADP HR/Benefits Survey on Wellness:

  • The majority of companies provide voluntary or incentive-based wellness programs, but 15 percent of midsized companies and 12 percent of large ones make participation in these programs mandatory.
  • Reasons that employers cite for offering wellness programs vary. A strong majority (81 percent midsized, 78 percent large) say they are most interested in improving employee health, closely followed by controlling health care costs. Additionally, a third or more are interested in attracting and retaining employees, and maintaining or increasing benefits offerings.

Why wellness Programs Are Offerred

  • Midsized companies have been offering wellness programs to employees for about six years and large employers for about six and a half years. An average of 51 percent of employees in midsized companies and 39 percent of employees in large companies participate in these programs.

Among all companies who offer wellness programs, one-quarter of midsized companies and slightly more than one-fifth of large companies measure the ROI of their wellness programs.

Return on Investment (ROI) Measured

  • A majority of midsized companies (53 percent) and large companies (60 percent) report that the wellness programs they offered met or exceeded expectations in regards to reducing overall health care costs.
  • On average, five wellness program components or interventions are offered at midsized companies and six at large ones. To read more about what types of wellness programs companies are offering, click here to read the full white paper.  

Components Include in Wellness Programs

About the ADP HR/Benefits Survey:
The ADP Research Institute conducted the ADP HR/Benefits Survey on Wellness in October 2011. The online survey engaged 507 HR decision makers from midsized-to-large U.S. companies, ranging from 50 to over 1,000 employees. Survey respondents were split with 254 midsized companies (50-999 employees) and 253 large companies (1,000+ employees) participating. The study data achieved statistical reliability at the 95 percent confidence level both overall and among midsized and large organizations. Respondents had to be evaluators, recommenders, or final decision makers for employee benefits policy or major benefits system or service purchases within their enterprises. Five out of every 10 (50 percent) respondents from midsized firms and 4 in every 10 (40 percent) from large ones were the actual heads of HR or employee benefits within their organizations.

About the ADP Research Institute:
The ADP Research Institute is a specialized group within ADP which provides insights for leaders in both the private and public sectors around issues of human capital management, employment trends and workforce strategy.

About ADP:
Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADP), with about $10 billion in revenues and approximately 570,000 clients, is one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging over 60 years of experience, ADP offers a wide range of human resourcepayrolltax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world.  For more information about ADP or to contact a local ADP sales office, reach us at 1.800.225.5237 or visit the company's Web site at www.ADP.com.

Michele Vana, Senior Vice President
Fleishman-Hillard Inc.
O: 212/453-2214