Employees Value Health and Wellness Programs

If your company is like many others, you are experiencing layoffs and hiring freezes, which means employees who quit no matter how valuable they are to the operation might not be replaced.

So the challenge becomes keeping valuable employees, and a new study from the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN), finds that nearly 60 percent of employees surveyed said they would remain at their current job if their employer offered a health and wellness program.

Indicative of today's tumultuous work environments, stress continues to drive employees' work-related health concerns, which is a probable reason why the majority of respondents (78 percent) claim they would participate in a company-sponsored program to help their overall health and wellness.

"Companies today need to do what is necessary to survive, and demonstrating a commitment to employee welfare is one important way to maintain trust and loyalty," said Deborah V. DiBenedetto, president of AAOHN. "Today's employees are clearly dealing with a lot of pressures such as the effects of 9/11, an unstable economy, national security threats and work/balance issues. There is a real opportunity for employers to serve as an ally to their employees by providing them with resources to better manage their physical and emotional health anything from stress management seminars to nutrition and exercise counseling."

Members of AAOHN often play a large role in organizing their companies' health and wellness programs. The association stresses the composition of health and wellness programs is critical to ensure active participation among employees. Offering information that parallels employees' health concerns demonstrates a company's genuine interest for the welfare of its employees. In fact, nearly 80 percent of respondents believe their overall health would improve if they were offered the right information and tools through a viable worksite health and wellness program.

Topping the list of most interesting program topics cited by employees is stress management (85 percent), closely followed by screening programs (84 percent), exercise/physical fitness programs (84 percent), health insurance education (81 percent) and disease management seminars (80 percent).

The source of the information appears to be the driving decision factor of employees considering participation in a health and wellness program. The key role played by a healthcare professional in administering these programs is underscored by the fact that more than half of employees (61 percent) would prefer to receive health and wellness information from a healthcare consultant or on-site nurse, compared to pamphlets or brochures (18 percent) or human resources staff (15 percent).

"It makes perfect sense that respondents want a health and wellness program administered by a healthcare professional. In all aspects of our life we seek help from industry professionals an accountant for our taxes, mechanic for car problems, plumber for plumbing problems so when it comes to matters of personal health, a healthcare professional would naturally be the most trusted source and more of an incentive for employees to utilize a health and wellness program," said DiBenedetto.

Additional information about the survey can be found at www.aaohn.org/press_room/wellness_survey_snapshot.cfm.

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