One Size Does Not Fit All for Employer’s Health & Wellness Strategies

Posted Tuesday, November 26th, 2013  | Comments Off on One Size Does Not Fit All for Employer’s Health & Wellness Strategies rule

Jim Peiffer

Senior Vice President, MetLife
General Manager, MAXIS Global Benefits Network

Email: jim.peiffer@alico.com

Global health statistics are startling. According to the CDC, more than 50% of U.S. have more than one chronic condition. According to USAID, 20% of the Russian population has hypertension and the World Heart Federation reports that over the last two decades, the overweight population in Mexico has risen from 10% to 68%.

Given these and other disconcerting global trends, there is growing interest among employers to help manage the health of their employees and ultimately increase the productivity and engagement of their workers. More and more, they are looking to health and wellness programs to help them achieve key business outcomes.

Recently, a study, based on the 2011 Generations of Talent study, commissioned by MAXIS Global Benefits Network (GBN), in conjunction with the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, found that while employees place a high value on health and wellness benefits, only 35% of respondents who span 11 countries are satisfied with the programs currently offered. Further, when employees are strongly dissatisfied with these benefits, the data suggests that they are at about 55% of their “maximum” commitment and 78% of their “maximum” work engagement.

The MAXIS GBN study found that levels of satisfaction with programs and the correlating employee engagement varied whether among Millennials, emerging markets or people in poor health. For instance, you might think that healthier, younger workers might not care about wellness benefits, but those at younger ages were more dissatisfied than older workers, and the link between satisfaction, engagement and commitment was stronger. Furthermore, the satisfaction gap between employees’ perceived value of and satisfaction with employer-sponsored health/ wellness initiatives was highest in developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico, India and China. And, across all markets, workers in poor health reported being much less satisfied overall with health and wellness resources. In addition, that low satisfaction negatively colored their perception of how able they are to work.

Clearly, a one size fits all approach is not the answer. While no program can meet all expectations, it is important to ensure a better match between employee needs and benefits offered. A tailored approach is crucial in developing effective health and wellness programs.

Recognizing the gap in satisfaction and employers’ growing need to address the health and productivity of their workforce, MAXIS GBN, a partnership between MetLife and AXA, works closely with companies to develop and implement health strategies for every stage of their employees’ health journey.

MAXIS GBN believes that the answer for employers is to keep it simple, but well-directed:

  • Focus efforts on the groups reporting the lowest satisfaction scores. The challenge is to meet the expectations of those who highly value health and wellness but are unhappy with the status quo.
  • Seek input from various stakeholders during design, implementation and review of programming. This will help companies to understand what’s working and what’s not. Different workers have different needs and interests which vary by country, age, gender, job, health status and lifestyle.
  • Act on it… Think simple. Programming and resources don’t have to be expensive … relevancy to each audience is what counts. Companies should test different programming and communication approaches and see what works.

Companies have an opportunity to broaden their current health and wellness programs by building a global strategy that is linked to in-market initiatives. Taking a holistic view of health and wellness by creating a global strategy will help employees live healthier lives and impact the bottom-line of companies.The strategy should be driven by data and included adapted market-specific solutions.

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Aging U.S. Workers: The Fittest Thrive

Posted Wednesday, November 13th, 2013  | Comments (4) rule
The following is reprinted with permission from Squared Away Blog.
Kimberly Blanton
Writer
Boston College Center for Retirement Research

Email: kimberly.blanton@bc.edu

By the time people reach their mid-60s, two out of three have retired, either voluntarily or because they’re unable to keep or find a job. By age 75, nine out of ten are out of the labor force.

But the minority who do continue working aren’t just survivors—they’re thrivers. Think novelist Toni Morrison, rocker Neil Young, or the older person who still comes into your office every day.


The earnings of U.S. workers in their 60s and 70s are rising faster than earnings for people in their prime working years, according to a new study. Defying the stereotype that they’re marking time, today’s older workers are also just as productive as people in their prime working years.

Driving these trends is education: far more older Americans now have a college degree than they once did.

There’s a “perception that the aged are less healthy, less educated, less up-to-date in their knowledge and more fragile than the young,” but this does “not necessarily describe the people who choose or who are permitted to remain in paid employment at older ages,” Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, concluded in his study.

The experience of age 60-plus workers is becoming increasingly important, because there are more of them in this country than there ever have been—a rising trend that will continue. The obvious reason for their growing numbers is the baby boom bulge. The oldest boomers turn 67 this year. But more people are also delaying their retirement, whether due to financial necessity, good health, or a love of work.

Burtless’ study looked in great detail at the dramatic gains since 1985 that have been achieved by older U.S. workers—ages 60 to 74—by comparing how well they’ve done relative to people in their prime working years, ages 35 to 54. He gauged their progress, compared with younger adults, using three measures:

  • More Education. In 1985, just 11 percent of older Americans had graduated from college, compared with 23 percent of younger adults. Today, roughly one-third of people in each age group have degrees.
  • Earnings Growth. Older men have seen enormous increases in their pay: in 1985, they earned just 70 cents for every $1.00 of average annual income—wages plus self-employment income—earned by adult men in their prime. By 2010, that had jumped to 92 cents.

Older women’s annual incomes are also increasing faster than the incomes of women in their prime, according to the study published by the Center for Retirement Research, which also supports this blog. But older women still haven’t caught up with prime-age workers to the extent that older men have.

  • Productivity Gains. It is no longer true that older workers are less productive than employees in their peak working years. Burtless found that older men’s hourly wages—his unit of measurement for comparing productivity—have caught up with hourly wages for workers in their prime. Older women have somewhat closed the gap with younger women.

The workforce of older Americans is not only getting bigger. What Burtless shows is that their status in the labor force is also getting better.

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