2015/2016 Staying@Work — Canada research findings

Improving workforce health and productivity

August 12, 2016
| Canada

For nearly two decades, Willis Towers Watson has conducted its Staying@Work research in North America. The 2015/2016 survey, our second global study of employers’ health and productivity strategies, involved 1,669 employers in 34 markets, including 111 employers from Canada. The survey provides a wealth of information regarding organizational practices and employer perspectives on health and productivity. Key Canadian findings from this year include:

  • Like other employers around the world, the vast majority (86%) of Canadian employers expect their organization’s commitment to health and productivity to increase or significantly increase over the next three years.
  • Survey respondents reported their primary strategy to encourage healthy behaviours will shift from more traditional approaches, such as re-examining plan design, to a focus on direct financial incentives and strategies that build the health and well-being of the workplace and culture.
  • Employers recognize the ways in which some employees’ sedentary lifestyles, obesity and distractions caused by stress, are raising health care costs and impacting productivity with a large majority (85%) of Canadian employers citing stress as the top workforce issue.
  • Employers are beginning to recognize that employee health and well-being is also strongly tied to financial health and are starting to offer a more comprehensive suite of programs that support the financial well-being of employees and their families.
  • Respondents report significant challenges in the design and delivery of their health and productivity programs including fragmented program delivery, lack of evidence of financial returns and inadequate program budget. Only 4% of Canadian employers currently segment the delivery of their programs and utilize data analytics to assess program outcomes.
  • Low employee participation continues to be a challenge with employers reporting average wellness program participation rates of 31%. To boost participation, more employers are turning to the use of incentives with 61% reporting they offered some form of incentive in 2015 – up from 50% in 2013.