Large employers have a stake in the health of their employees, because it impacts their bottom line in terms of healthcare costs. More and more studies are coming out about the results of corporate wellness programs, and the outcomes are encouraging.
For example, consider Emory University. With more than 11,000 employees, the university leaders offered free health risk assessments (HRA) and biometric screenings for their workers. They discovered that three out of five were at high risk due to inadequate exercise. They partnered with Fitbit to create a pilot program called the “Move More Challenge.” The pilot program was initially made available to a select groups, but was then expanded to include the entire workforce. They also identified “Wellness Champions” within work divisions who became ambassadors for the program. Employees were offered a discount on Fitbit products and a $100 discount on their share of healthcare costs.
The Challenge program was a success, with participants averaging more than 9,000 steps a day. 97% indicated that they would participate in a future challenge. And follow-up studies showed that 53% of those who participated were still physically active six months later. This is one more data point that would indicate that employee wellness programs can be an effective way to encourage healthy changes in worker behavior.