Only a third of Canadian employers have in place a formal wellness strategy while 48% are taking a more informal approach to wellness initiatives, a Conference Board of Canada survey of 205 employers found.
Employee wellness efforts focus on reducing behaviours that have a negative impact on employee health and promoting those that have beneficial health outcomes.
A formal wellness approach entails having a wellness committee, a stand-alone organizational policy about employee health and wellness, and at least an annual evaluation of strategies.
The report, Wellness Initiatives: Trends in Organizational Health Management, also found that
one in five had no wellness strategy at all.
But healthy workplaces consider employee well-being broadly and consider aspects of employees' physical, psychological, and social health, according to Allison Cowan, Director of Total Rewards and Workplace Health Research, The Conference Board of Canada.
"Investing in a comprehensive health and wellness program is an essential part of a healthy work environment and makes good business sense."
“The cost of doing nothing is too high,” said the Conference Board, as it explained why employers are investing in such initiatives. Research has found that lost productivity due to depression and anxiety alone is costing the Canadian economy billions.
Many of the gains in employee wellness are fuelled by the growing numbers of private sector employers investing in wellness. Meanwhile, public sector employers doing the same remained steady.
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