Across the U.S. there has been a boom in wellness trends. From our grocery carts to fitness watches, Americans are becoming more interested in maintaining their health and overall well-being. In HR, this has translated to an expansion of benefits for larger companies, according to a study by Fidelity Investments. These new trends include overall health and wellness, financial planning, and community volunteering opportunities.
The survey included responses from 141 large and midsize corporations throughout the U.S, and respondents were asked about their benefit programs for 2017. Eighty-four percent of surveyed employers stated they now offer employees financial security programs, such as student loan counseling or access to debt management tools. This is up from 76 percent the previous year.
A variety of financial security programs are offered by employers, with the most popular being:
- “Lunch and learn” seminars (offered by 82 percent of employers)
- Access to tools to support key financial decisions, such as wills and mortgages (74 percent)
- Tools to support debt management, emergency savings, and budgeting (71 percent)
- Student loan counseling or repayment assistance (25 percent)
While financial planning tools are growing, health incentive programs are still one of the most popular benefits. Ninety-five percent of employers surveyed are offering physical wellness programs this year, and 87 percent are providing benefits for emotional health. The average employee incentive cost is also rising. This year, the average employee incentive will be $742, up from $521 in 2013.
The most common wellness programs continue to be:
- Smoking cessation (91 percent)
- Physical activities and challenges (86 percent)
- Weight management (79 percent)
Benefits relating to giving and volunteering saw a significant rise for 2017. Employers surveyed reported an increase in these opportunities from 67 percent to 79 percent. Employers are also adding cause-based collection drives to their programs, which increased from 77 percent to 88 percent.
Is your company expanding its wellness benefits? Be sure to consult your employment law attorney before adding benefits to ensure they are applicable in your state. For more ideas and information on new employee benefits, visit our blog.