arrows outThe latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers has found that 62 percent of workers feel that their workplace wellness activities are paying off through better health and lower health risks. The number of satisfied workers has risen 7 percent over 2011 where 55 percent felt positively about their organization’s wellness programs. Indeed, in 2012, 51 percent of program participants are encouraged to work hard and improve performance while 59 percent say their energy levels have improved thanks to their employer-sponsored wellness programs.

“As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer offers these benefits,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. “In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”

Additionally, 45 percent of employees believe that their wellness program encourages them to remain with their current employer, up from 40 percent in 2011. Another 43 percent of participants agree that wellness programs lead to fewer missed days. About one-third of workers reported to still not participate in any employer-sponsored wellness programs.

Employers have also been providing more varied wellness incentives in order to improve participation. Some of the most cited incentives reported by survey respondents included:

• 17 percent reported being offered HAS or health reimbursement account contributions;

• 16 percent said their employer offers other, non-wage, financial incentives (discounts, gift cards); and

• 10 percent said their employer gives paid time off for participation.

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