Home » Small business sees bottom line benefit from wellness programs, study by NSBA and Humana finds

Small business sees bottom line benefit from wellness programs, study by NSBA and Humana finds

Humana, NSBA study shows more than 50 percent of startups see health and well-being as important to recruitment and retention

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–While most small businesses don’t offer health and wellness programs to their employees, three of four that offer such programs do find the initiatives have a positive impact on their bottom line. That’s one of the key conclusions of a study of more than 1,000 small-business owners by Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, and the National Small Business Association (NSBA), America’s longest-running small business advocacy organization.

The study aimed to uncover health and wellness needs and barriers facing small businesses in today’s post-recession business recovery. Key findings include:

  • An overwhelming 93 percent of the respondents consider their employees’ physical and mental health to be important to their financial results, but only one-third express confidence in their ability to help employees manage their well-being.
  • More than half surveyed maintained that insufficient information is available that pertains to small businesses introducing health and wellness programs.
  • Startups – those companies less than 10 years old – are leading the way with 63 percent having already adopted health and wellness programs.

(Note: This survey defined health and wellness programs at initiatives aimed at encouraging employees to make healthier choices such as getting preventative care, eating right and exercising.)

“For 50 years, five behavioral issues have consumed an estimated 80 percent of the nation’s health care budget – poor diet, stress coupled with inactivity, smoking and drinking. Humana understands small businesses’ role in supporting our economy and we are committed to helping these employers and their employees combat such issues and achieve lifelong well-being,” said Jerry Ganoni, President of Humana’s Small Business Division. “We’re encouraged that employers recognize the importance of wellness programs, and through our collaboration with the NSBA intend to provide educational resources and tools small businesses can use to help address the wellness barriers they identified.”

Small-Business Startups Most Likely to Provide Wellness Programs

A key factor in small business owners’ decision about whether or not to introduce a health and wellness program rests with employee interest.

  • Interestingly enough, startups find their employees, many of them younger, actually prefer and pursue such offerings.
  • 85 percent of startups say wellness programs are worth the investment and 63 percent are already adopting such programs.
  • Most startups say these programs aid in recruiting and retaining employees.

“Wellness solutions likely will be an increasingly important part of the employee value proposition,” said Ganoni. “It will be crucial for the industry to focus on providing small-business owners with the information they need to make the wellness decisions necessary to recruit and retain employees while making an a meaningful impact on their bottom lines.”

Stress as Top Concern for Employee Well-being

While often focused on physical health, well-being programs can impact mental health too.

  • High employee stress is the number one concern for small business decision-makers; especially those at smaller companies, with stress levels more than triple other employee well-being concerns.
  • Understanding this issue and incorporating stress-management into wellness offerings will be an important consideration for small business owners moving forward.
  • In fact, 67 percent say offering programs that help keep employees healthy would be the best health-related option received by employees, versus only 17 percent who say allocating more sick days.

“This study reveals a unique set of concerns and challenges small-business owners face to make employee wellness a reality particularly in today’s tough business environment. For instance, high employee stress and employee psychological well-being are the top two concerns for small-business decision-makers,” said Todd McCracken, NSBA president and CEO. “This new information shows that small businesses seek better information to make health and wellness a reality for small businesses. Workplace wellness programs can play a role in making quality affordable health care accessible for small-business owners and their employees.”

The study was conducted by third-party research vendor, StrategyOne, between late June and July, 2012. The margin of error on the overall sample is +/-3.1%.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. By leveraging the strengths of its core businesses, Humana believes it can better explore opportunities for existing and emerging adjacencies in health care that can further enhance wellness opportunities for the millions of people across the nation with whom the company has relationships.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at www.humana.com, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders
  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings
  • Most recent investor conference presentations
  • Quarterly earnings news releases
  • Replays of most recent earnings release conference calls
  • Calendar of events (including upcoming earnings conference call dates and times, as well as planned interaction with research analysts and institutional investors)
  • Corporate Governance information

About NSBA

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, NSBA is a staunchly nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. NSBA’s 65,000 members represent every state and every industry in the U.S., and we are proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. In addition to advocating for entrepreneurs, NSBA conducts a comprehensive nation-wide survey of small businesses. This annual survey, coupled with more targeted surveys, enables us to have our finger on the pulse of small business in America. In addition to a broad national membership, NSBA serves as an umbrella group to several regional, state and local small business organizations and two national councils with expertise in exporting and technology. For more information on NSBA, please visitwww.nsba.biz.