It should be no surprise that among the top trends for 2017 in human resources is improved wellness programs. The combination of an increased desire for a healthy lifestyle and more involvement from upper management has put wellness at the forefront of the human resources department. 

Needless to say, we have work to do. In fact, the Flex + Strategy Group blog noted that 25% of employees do not have the option of a wellness/wellbeing program at their workplace. However, 20% said that although they do not participate in a corporate wellness program (either for lack of interest or opportunity), they still pursue wellness programs on their own. Evidence that there are not enough, and certainly not the appropriate, opportunities available in the workplace, paving the way for needed improvement in 2017.

Here are a few ways we see wellness programs advancing in the upcoming year:

Competition vs. Rewards for Wellness Initiatives

wellness initiatives 2017

With the EEOC’s Final Rule on Employer Wellness Programs we expect to see a decrease in the amount of financial incentives for wellness programs and a trend towards more friendly competition in the workplace. 91% of employees said they would engage in healthier behaviors if they were rewarded, according to a survey from Welltok, which proves there is still a need to incentivize behavior. But with the rise in wearables and other technology, we can anticipate more Fitbit challenges and competitions in our future.

A Focus on Mental Health

wellness initiatives 2017

Mental and behavioral health conditions cost employers around $104 billion each year, while only 41% of employees say their employer helps them meet mental health needs. As wellness programs become more holistic, we find a trend towards more engagement in the mental health realm.  Helping employees take control of their mental health not only improves retention, but productivity as well. Whether it’s implementing more mindfulness practices or on-site counseling, there are many opportunities for employers to engage employees in this way.

Highlighting Financial Wellness

wellness initiatives 2017

Many employers made the headlines last year for offering student loan repayment and tuition assistance. However, this is not financially viable for all companies. However, we do anticipate more education being provided around financial wellness for employees. According to Aon Hewitt, nearly 89% of employers plan on implementing tools to expand their financial health focus. The main reason? “To increase employee engagement”.  From budgeting classes to debt management, expect to see more financial education in the workplace this year.

2017 should bring some exciting changes to the workplace as employers work towards a more comprehensive program. How is your company improving wellness this year? What new programs are you implementing?

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About Katie Williamson

Katie Williamson is a Marketing Associate at PerkSpot, providing creative insights and challenging the way we think about the workplace.

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