Corporate wellness programs are growing, not just in the United States, but around the world, and the forecast is for that trend to continue. A study by Transparency Market Research predicts that the global market for corporate wellness services will grow 9% annually between 2018 and 2026 to $61.7 billion, up from $29.3 billion in 2017.
The majority of the growth will occur in North America (44.5%), but increasing demand will come from countries with emerging economies, such as India and China. By 2026, the Asia Pacific region will account for 14.7% of the market.
The growth in wellness programs is a sign that companies recognize that for employees to perform well, they have to feel well, both physically and mentally. As a result, companies are offering a wide range of holistic wellness programming.
Not Just For Large Companies
Wellness programs are not just being adopted by large companies. According to the study, more than 80% of organizations with 50 employees provide some wellness support. Companies of all sizes see that offering programs help with recruitment and retention, as employees increasingly note that they want and expect their employers to offer wellness benefits.
As healthcare costs increase, both employers and employees want to find ways to better manage these costs. One way is to consider preventive measures for maintaining good health. By reducing stress through a corporate-sponsored stress management program, for example, employees can lower their risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, depression, and anxiety. Progressive employers are recognizing the costs associated with a wellness program are more than offset by lower medical expenses, higher productivity, and better retention.
Changes In Wellness Programs Come With Time, Experience
As more companies from around the world embrace wellness programs, it is intriguing to see how well-being offerings are evolving.
Early well-being initiatives focused on physical health, with activities targeting biometrics and general health screenings. According to the study, these legacy practices are still leading the way, even though some of the more experienced programs have moved away from these tests because of their ineffectiveness. It is likely that as companies newer to wellness go through their learning curve, they too, will move away from legacy practices.
Over time, companies have begun to understand that well-being encompasses more than physical health. Because mental, social, and financial health directly affect employee performance, these areas need to be supported too.
Employers who assume they know what to offer their workforce often miss the mark, employees say, indicating the need for companies to ask employees what support they need. With this information, companies can tailor their benefits to what their workforce wants most and will use more frequently.
As more companies around the world focus on employee well-being, offering wellness programs will become the standard. Organizations that don't will have more difficulty recruiting and retaining employees and building a productive workforce. Moreover, companies that take a holistic approach to wellness will benefit the most.