Wellness benefits link to employee commitment – Maxis report

Increasing employees’ satisfaction with their employer’s health and wellness resources will improve their work engagement and organisational commitment according to a major new survey by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College for Maxis Global Benefits Network.

The network’s Global Workforce Study says that for workers aged 30, for every one unit on a scale of 1- 6 that health and wellness satisfaction increases, there is a 10 per cent increase in work engagement and an 11 per cent increase in organisational commitment. The report says the relationship between behaviour and health and wellness satisfaction is strongest amongst younger workers.

The report by Maxis, the network set up a decade ago by MetLife and Axa, says employees place a high value on the importance of health and wellbeing benefits but are generally not satisfied with what their employers offer. Only 35 per cent of respondents were satisfied with their employer’s health and wellbeing offering, with workers in emerging economies, the under 30s and those already in ill health least satisfied.

The report found different attitudes to health and wellness amongst different age groups, with those 30 and under, described by the report’s authors as Millenials, and also amongst employees in poor health, which often included older workers.

Employees in developing market countries are placing a particularly high importance on the availability of health and wellness resources, with staff in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Botswana most likely to state these resources were very important. These findings reflected a correlation with the higher percentage of employees reporting very poor, poor or fair health in these countries.  

The report also found that where supervisors are viewed as generally supportive, there is a magnifying effect on the impact of satisfaction with these benefits and organisational commitment. The more the employees agree that their supervisors are “supportive,” the more their satisfaction with wellness resources impacts their organizational commitment, it found.

Researchers also found satisfaction with health and wellness resources can also have an impact on work ability, described as ‘an employee’s ability to maintain employment and extend “work life”’, although there is not as strong of a relationship as with engagement and commitment. The report identified three factors that can affect the relationships between employee satisfaction with employer-sponsored health and wellness resources and work ability: age, health status and supervisor support.

For employees who indicated they were in poor health, there was a relationship between increased levels of satisfaction with benefits and a higher perception of work ability. Maxis says this is encouraging given the potentially high costs of absenteeism and low productivity with those in poorer health.

A Maxis spokesperson says: “Overall, employees are not satisfied with health and wellness resources currently offered through their employer. Two-thirds of employees who participated in the study are either dissatisfied or just somewhat satisfied with the health and wellness benefits available to them. We also see a connection between these satisfaction levels and important business outcomes, such as engagement and organizational commitment. This provides two distinct opportunities for employers”

“If There is a Single Consistent Finding, it’s “One Size Does Not Fit All”

“Different people have different needs and interests and will engage through different methods. The best way to understand these needs is to gain input from the targeted groups before, during and after implementing health and wellness programs. While no program can meet all needs, ongoing feedback will ensure a better match between expectations and reality.”