Sixty-four percent of U.S. employers say building a workplace culture that supports employee well-being will be a primary strategy by 2018

ARLINGTON, Va., May 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. employers say that by 2018, they will focus on developing a workplace culture that supports employee well-being as a primary strategy to boost health engagement. This is a significant shift, as just one-third (34%) say it was a core strategy in 2015. These are the key findings of a survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) of 487 U.S. employers about their health and productivity strategies.

The 2015/2016 Willis Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey further found that more employers have adopted a broader view of workforce health that includes physical, mental, emotional and financial health. For example, 47% include financial well-being as a key part of their overall workforce well-being strategy today and 80% expect to include it by 2018. Employers also are taking a more holistic approach that recognizes the connections between each of these elements and to the workplace itself.

“Many employees today have a complex set of interconnected issues to deal with, which can prevent them from bringing their best selves to work each day,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, national lead, Health Management practice at Willis Towers Watson. “Employers increasingly are understanding that to make a measurable difference in employees’ overall health and productivity, they must drive well-being initiatives deeper into the organization and embed them in employees’ day-to-day work experience.”

The survey found the following steps among those employers are taking to build a healthy workplace culture:

Obtaining commitment from leadership. Just over half (51%) of employers say their senior leaders are visible champions of the organization’s health and well-being strategy. Just under half (49%) have built health and well-being into their employee value proposition.

Creating a supportive physical and social environment. More than two-thirds (70%) of employers have improved their physical environments to encourage healthy behaviors. Examples include adding healthy foods to cafeteria menus, walking paths and campus bike-sharing programs. Many employers also are tapping into the power of peer influence by recruiting local champions (62%), encouraging employees to share personal stories (61%) and enabling key influencers to spread the word through social networks (32%).

Making it personal. More than half (56%) of employers ask employees what’s missing from their well-being experience and what they need to succeed at work. One-third (35%) invite family members to participate in programs and activities.

Leveraging technology. Three-quarters of employers (74%) make online health improvement tools available to employees both at work and at home. More than half (58%) have a portal devoted exclusively to health-related information.

“Workforce health can be a true differentiator,” said Shelly Wolff, senior health care consultant at Willis Towers Watson. “As the well-being of employees and their families is enhanced, employers are better positioned to achieve bottom-line goals, improve benefit cost management and lower absenteeism. What’s more, they’ll also have happier, healthier and more engaged employees.”

A comprehensive report on findings from the 2015/2016 Willis Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey is now available for download on the Willis Towers Watson website.

About the survey

The 2015/2016 Willis Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey was completed between May and July 2015 in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America by 1,669 employers. The survey captures details on each organization’s health and well-being strategy and programs in their respective local markets. Additionally, 42 multinational firms responded to a complementary survey, capturing the perspective of global headquarters. In total, the data include responses from 34 countries/markets. The countries with the most responses are the United States, 487; Mexico, 118; Canada, 111; the Philippines, 91; Indonesia, 66; and China, 65. Seventy-three percent of respondents operate in multiple countries, and respondents are in all major industry sectors.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.

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Source:Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company