According to a study released in February 2012 by the Principal Financial Group, small to medium sized companies (those with 10 to 500 employees) most commonly offer online wellness information to employees. As part of the study, more than 1,000 participants from firms of 10–1,000 employees were asked to identify wellness benefits offered by their employers.
Data shows online wellness information has become the most commonly offered benefit, as indicated by 18 percent of respondents who participated in the annual survey conducted in Q4 2011. This could be a testament to an increasingly digital world: Online information outpaced the usage of printed wellness information by 3 percentage points. Educational tools or resources comprised the second most offered program in 2011 (16 percent), followed by fitness center discounts (15 percent) and smoking cessation programs (12 percent).
Of the wellness benefits offered, 59 percent of respondents used online wellness information at least once in 2011. Sixty-three percent took advantage of printed wellness information, surpassed by education tools/resources (69 percent). In addition, 41 percent of survey participants used fitness center discounts in 2011, and just 12 percent used smoking cessation programs.
Small to medium sized companies seem to offer educational wellness programs rather than actionable benefits to their employees. According to the data, two of the top three benefits included online or offline wellness information. However, employees seem to value wellness information, ranking it as one of the most commonly offered and utilized wellness benefits.