Incentive rewards of various types are increasingly being offered in all parts of the world, especially Asia (42 percent) and Australia (33 percent).

Measuring Impact

Buck??s annual survey continues to find that relatively few organizations are using metrics to validate the success of their wellness programs. Worldwide, only 22 percent have measured financial outcomes (although financial objectives are not a primary focus in most regions outside the United States).

???The fact that organizations continue to expand wellness programs, despite this lack of measurement, suggests that the intuitive value of improved employee health remains a major motivator for employers,??? said Hall. ???Employers may recognize that health outcomes and behavior changes inspired by wellness programs are likely to take multiple years to fully manifest themselves in the form of measurable savings.???

Among U.S. respondents who have measured the effect of wellness programs on their health care cost trend rate, 43 percent report a reduction in the trend rate. The typical reduction is two to five trend percentage points per year. ???This is a significant savings on the massively growing health care bills of many employers,??? said Hall.

Additional wellness issues covered by Buck??s global survey include organizational ownership and responsibility of wellness programs, employee feedback, and communications.

Buck Consultants is hosting two complimentary Webcasts on the survey results on November 18, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and November 19, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To register, visit buckconsultants/buckconsultants/portals/0/documents/EVENTS/Webcast_Invitations/2009/wc-buck-invite-11-18_11-19-09.pdf

Buck Consultants?? survey was conducted in association with CIGNA, International Health Consulting, Pfizer and WorldatWork.