Staying the Course: Employers Show Commitment to Wellness Despite Economic Hard Times

Wed Feb 6, 2013 8:00am EST

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87 percent of global employers believe it`s their role to manage worker health 
NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--
Wellness programs are no longer a "soft" issue for organizations around the
globe as employers increasingly recognize the value of employees` health and
overall well-being to their organizations` bottom line. According to the latest
report from Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company (NYSE: XRX), employers cite their
commitment to promoting health and wellness as a business strategy and show
continued desire to expand health promotion initiatives. 

"Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness
Strategies" found that employers, regardless of location, identified improving
worker productivity and reducing presenteeism as one of their top wellness
program objectives. 

"With productivity having a direct tie to bottom-line revenue, organizations now
consider health promotion as a core business value that positively impacts their
ability to compete," said Dave Ratcliffe, principal, Buck Consultants. "With
signs of job market improvement emerging in the U.S., employers will be
challenged to maintain productivity gains earned during the recession as
employees have increased job mobility." 

As health promotion takes its place as a top consideration among drivers of
profitability and performance, an increasing number of organizations recognize
their role in managing employee health - 87 percent in 2012 vs. 75 percent in
2010. 

Overall, still only 36 percent of respondents currently measure specific
outcomes of their health promotion programs, citing lack of resources (68
percent) and not knowing how to measure (34 percent) as the top reasons for not
measuring. The likelihood of measurement increases with employer size, although
even among the largest employers (20,000+ employees), only 47 percent report
having measured specific outcomes. 

Buck`s fifth annual global wellness survey analyzed responses from more than
1,300 organizations in 45 countries representing more than 17 million employees.


Another key finding to emerge in this year`s survey is employers` reaction to
the recent economic downturn between employers who measure program results and
those who do not. Thirty percent of employers who measured health promotion
program outcomes indicated that they increased their emphasis on wellness
programs during tough economic outlook vs. 21 percent of employers who do not
measure outcomes. 

"Employers who measure program outcomes do so with a greater focus on driving
business results," said Ratcliffe. "A healthier workforce is a more productive
workforce, which produces greater revenue that is sustainable over the long
term. So these employers understand the value of continuing their wellness
initiatives even during hard economic times." 

Further emphasizing the impact on the bottom line, the survey found that 23
percent of U.S. employers indicated their wellness program helped reduce the
cost of providing health care benefits to their employees. Of those:

* 62 percent reported health care cost trend rate reductions of 2 percentage
points or more. 
* 13 percent reported trend rate reductions of 6 percentage points or more.

Other key findings of Buck`s global wellness study include:

* Increase in globalization - Among participating multinational organizations,
49 percent have a global health promotion strategy, up from 34 percent in 2008. 
* Program focus: move more, relax and eat better -Though different by specific
geographic region, the majority of employers cite physical activity, stress, and
workplace safety as the top three issues driving wellness program design. 
* Incentives impact on program participation depends on type of activity - The
survey shows that incentives have a direct correlation to program participation
levels, but initiatives that require long-term lifestyle changes (such as
physical exercise and nutrition) are not as greatly influenced by incentives as
are more immediate programs (such as health assessment and biometric
screenings). 
* Wellness initiatives continue to add value over time - While significant
results from a wellness program can take years to realize, the survey shows how
the impact of wellness programs differs by short-term and long-term payoff.

Additional issues covered by Buck`s global survey include program design,
incentives, organizational ownership of wellness programs and communication
strategies. 

An archived webinar on the survey results and implications is available at:
https://buckconsultants.omnovia.com/archives/125416. 

The global survey results will be further examined at the first Global Healthy
Workplace Awards & Summit in London on April 10-12. The summit will bring
together leaders in global health and well-being from diverse fields, and
finalists for the prestigious Global Healthy Workplace Award will present their
solutions. 

Buck Consultants` survey was conducted in association with Integrated Health, a
Pfizer Solution, Cigna®, vielife and Wolf Kirsten International Health
Consulting. 

About the Research Partners

Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company, is a leader in human resource and benefits
consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. Founded in 1916 to
advise clients in establishing and funding some of the nation`s first public and
private retirement programs, Buck is an innovator in the areas of retirement
benefits, health and welfare programs, talent and human resources solutions,
compensation, and employee communication. News and other information about Buck
Consultants are available at http://www.buckconsultants.com. 

With sales approaching $23 billion, Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is the world`s leading
enterprise for business process and document management. Its technology,
expertise and services enable workplaces - from small businesses to large global
enterprises - to simplify the way work gets done so they operate more
effectively and focus more on what matters most: their real business.
Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Xerox offers business process outsourcing and
IT outsourcing services, including data processing, healthcare solutions, HR
benefits management, finance support, transportation solutions, and customer
relationship management services for commercial and government organizations
worldwide. The company also provides extensive leading-edge document technology,
services, software and genuine Xerox supplies for graphic communication and
office printing environments of any size. The 140,000 people of Xerox serve
clients in more than 160 countries. For more information, visit
http://www.xerox.com, http://news.xerox.com or http://www.realbusiness.com. For
investor information, visit http://www.xerox.com/investor. 

Integrated Health, a Pfizer Solution, lives where insights and outcomes meet.
Built on Pfizer's heritage of data-driven health innovations, we are creating
value-based services and technology solutions that aim to improve health
outcomes and reduce wasted costs. 

Cigna® is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve
their health, well-being, and sense of security. The operating subsidiaries of
Cigna Corporation provide an integrated suite of health services, such as
medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, and supplemental benefits
to people around the world. These services include health coaching and wellness
programs. 

vielife provides global health and wellbeing solutions that are available in
over 26 languages. An online suite of products empowers organizations to track
and improve the health and productivity of their employees, through assessments,
personalized reports, lifestyle management programs, employee engagement and
challenges. 

Wolf Kirsten International Health Consulting helps international corporations,
organizations, and governments improve the quality of life of their respective
populations through innovative, culturally appropriate, and cost-effective
health promotion programs. 

Note: The full report is available to the media at no cost by contacting Ed
Gadowski at Edward.Gadowski@buckconsultants.com or +1-910-253-9816. Available to
the public: a complimentary executive summary as well as the full survey report
for $395. Contact Buck Consultants Surveys by calling 1-800-887-0509 or purchase
the report online at http://www.bucksurveys.com. 

To receive RSS news feeds, visit http://news.xerox.com/rss. For open commentary,
industry perspectives and views visit http://twitter.com/xeroxcorp,
http://realbusinessatxerox.blogs.xerox.com, http://www.facebook.com/XeroxCorp,
http://www.youtube.com/XeroxCorp. 

XEROX®, XEROX and Design® are trademarks of Xerox in the United States and/or
other countries.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
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Media:
Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company
Ed Gadowski, +1-910-253-9816
Edward.Gadowski@buckconsultants.com
or
Text 100 for Buck Consultants
Nicole Pavlas, +1-585-697-2620
nicole.pavlas@text100.com

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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