Well-being programs key ingredient for retaining millennials

An increased focus on health, combined with unprecedented access to information, has millennials not only more interested in workplace wellness than their counterparts in other generations, but more likely to stay at their jobs because of it.

According to new figures out from Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company — which polled more than 2,300 U.S. consumers for the annual “Consumer Health Mindset Study”— the growing generation values wellness and health programs from their employers more than any other generation. Statistics from the report are extensive:

· More than half of millennials (52%) said they believe health and wellness programs offered by their employer make them feel better about their company, compared to just 39% of all other generations.

· 43% of millennials said their employer health and wellness programs are one of the reasons they stay at their jobs, compared to less than one-third (32%) of all other generations.

· 56% of millennials said integrated health and wellness programs would make their employer more attractive to future employees, and 57% said such programs would help increase their overall satisfaction with their employer, compared to 43% for all other generations.

Millennials further ranked “social well-being” in the top two areas for employer support and resource allocation — more than any other generation.


One big takeaway for employers, says Ray Baumruk, a partner in Aon Hewitt’s employee research and insights communications consulting practice, is “that respondents clearly like the idea of health and wellness efforts provided in the broader framework of overall well-being which takes into account the whole person, not just their physical or emotional health conditions.”

Overall well-being is particularly important for millennials, who express higher levels of stress and multiple sources of it, he says. “Providing broad well-being support to help them cope with stress will be very attractive to this group right now.”

The research is important as the millennial population continues to grow — expected to reach 70 million by 2030.

Millennials’ attention to health and wellness might be due to a renewed focus on health in recent years from the general population as well as a continual rise in preventable conditions such as obesity, Baumruk explains.

“With the higher level of attention on health in the recent past and this generation’s broader access to information and education on health, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that [millennials] see it as an important priority in their lives and express some concern that whatever unhealthy behaviors they have today may catch up with them in the future,” he says.

In fact, the Aon Hewitt report explains that millennials are “growing increasingly tolerant of direct guidance and consequences for unhealthy behaviors.”

The majority of millennials (56%) said employers should direct participants to certain facilities/providers for the most appropriate care/cost, compared to 40% for all other generations. Additionally, nearly one-third (32%) of millennials are supportive of employers imposing consequences for “less-than-healthy conditions,” compared to just 21% of Gen Xers and 14% of baby boomers. Additionally, 32% of millennials said they support requiring higher employee costs for health insurance if employees do not use health awareness tools, compared to just 24% of Gen Xers and 16% of baby boomers.

So does this mean that wellness will continue to grow with each future generation? Evidence points to yes, says Joann Hall Swenson, a communications consultant with Aon Hewitt.

“The fact that our results over the past five or so years have continued to show increasing value and desire for workplace wellness alone is a good indication."

“The fact that our results over the past five or so years have continued to show increasing value and desire for workplace wellness alone is a good indication,” she says.

Additionally, Swenson continues, “we see in some research related to the characteristics and desires of the next generation — centennials — that overall well-being is an important concept and something they are likely to view as an important sign of success.”

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