Employee Benefits

3 Emerging Trends in Employee Wellness Programs

3 Emerging Trends in Employee Wellness Programs

First introduced in businesses over 40 years ago, wellness programs have become important employee benefits. Currently, about 83 percent of large employers provide wellness choices to encourage employees to establish health goals and pursue active lifestyles.

Early wellness programs focused on health screenings and educational services. But new trends are emerging as employers seek to help employees balance work and family responsibilities, address health problems and become more productive. Consider these three trends:


1. Wellness to well-being – Across the country, employers recognize that employee wellness encompasses not just the absence of disease but all five areas of well-being:

  • career purpose
  • social interaction
  • financial security
  • physical energy
  • community safeness

Many employees are more worried about finances than they were just two to three years ago. Some are foregoing major life events to pay off their loans. Often, they end up spending time at work worrying about how to meet financial commitments. Employers can enhance employee engagement and work productivity by focusing on workers’ financial well-being. Discover the value of financial well-being programs by reviewing this blog.

2. Job flexibility – Employees juggle many family and life commitments, such as caring for elderly parents, driving children to different activities, traveling for work or studying for academic degrees. With an eye on easing stress, employers are redesigning jobs to incorporate:

  • flexible work hours
  • unlimited paid time off
  • options to work from home

Forbes reports that employees with flexible work options are more engaged with their work, miss fewer days and are less inclined to look for other jobs.

3. Healthy work setting – Work and daily living can be stressful, affecting mental and physical health. Many employers are encouraging employees to engage socially in team activities throughout the week by:

  • collaborating on projects
  • organizing fun exercise or service activities
  • inviting a chef or dietician to teach them how to prepare healthy food
  • keeping communications open throughout the workplace

Learn more about the five elements of well-being by watching this interview with Dr. Jim Harter of Gallup.


Global Wellness Institute
Kaiser Family Foundation