Wellness programs involving employee spouses more likely to see engagement
- A study on the effect of spouses on employees' wellness found that 28% of workers were more likely to participate in life-coaching programs if their spouses also took part, Benefits Pro reports. The HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer found that only 14% of employees participated in wellness programs when their spouse didn't.
- The HERO study concludes that employees are more willing to take part in wellness programs when their partner also is involved. Benefits Pro says that employees' partners have a powerful role in keeping them healthy and that employers can leverage that power by finding ways to include partners in wellness activities.
- The study also found that although spouses make up just one-fifth of all people covered by an employer-sponsored plan, they generate one-third of healthcare costs. Benefits Pro says that employers can reduce healthcare costs by improving the health of employees' spouses.
Support from family and friends is key to most people's physical and emotional well-being, which the HERO study underscores. If employees are more likely to participate in wellness activities with their partners, offering programs that encourage couples' involvement could be well worth the upfront costs.
Employers with a family-oriented culture — or those looking to create one — will likely have a wellness program with a family focus. When Plantation, FL, officials wanted to offer a wellness program for their employees, they preferred a program that reflected the city's family-oriented culture because they found a correlation between the culture and lower healthcare costs. They opted for an onsite clinic program that also included spouses — and reached a near 100% engagement rate from both.
Employers that are developing a wellness program, or expanding one they already have, can include activities that accommodate spouses for possibly healthier employees and greater ROI.