Workforce health and productivity top priorities

par Andrew Rickard | August 25 2016 09:29AM

Photo: Freepik

Most Canadian employers are looking for ways to improve their workers' health and productivity.

Willis Towers Watson recently conducted a survey of 1,669 employers in 34 markets, including 111 employers from Canada, and asked respondents for their views on health and productivity. The poll reveals that 86% of Canadian employers expect their organization’s commitment to health and productivity to increase, or significantly increase, over the next three years.

"Survey respondents reported their primary strategy to encourage healthy behaviours will shift from more traditional approaches, such as re-examining plan design, to a focus on direct financial incentives and strategies that build the health and well-being of the workplace and culture," says Willis Towers Watson.

The management consulting firm says employers have come to realize that some employees’ sedentary lifestyles and obesity are increasing healthcare costs, and notes that 85% of Canadian employers cite stress as the top workforce issue. The survey also found that companies have discovered a link between employee health and financial well-being, and are starting to offer a more comprehensive suite of financial education programs to their workers.

"Low employee participation continues to be a challenge with employers reporting average wellness program participation rates of 31%," concludes the report. "To boost participation, more employers are turning to the use of incentives with 61% reporting they offered some form of incentive in 2015 – up from 50% in 2013."