Americans See Real Rewards from Workplace Wellness Programs

  Americans See Real Rewards from Workplace Wellness Programs

         Employers offer incentives to increase program participation

Business Wire

DES MOINES, Iowa -- January 30, 2013

More American workers recognize the rewards of participating in workplace
wellness programs, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being
Index^SM: American Workers. Sixty-two percent of workers, up from 55 percent
2011, believe workplace wellness activities are successful in improving health
and reducing health risks.

The index, which surveys American workers at growing businesses with 10-1,000
workers^1, is released by the Principal Financial Group^® and conducted by
Harris Interactive^®. These findings focusing specifically on wellness
attitudes  and behaviors among American workers were taken from the fourth
quarter 2012 Index.

By taking advantage of workplace wellness offerings, American employees are
approaching their work with more energy and motivation. Fifty-one percent of
program participants feel wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and
perform better, and another 59 percent of program participants say they have
more energy to be productive at work as a result of their participation in
employer-sponsored wellness programs.

“As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing
a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer
offers these benefits,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness
Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. “In the wake of the
financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a
productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”

Nearly half (45 percent) of employees agree that an employer-sponsored
wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment
situation, up from 40 percent 2011. Additionally, 43 percent of participants
say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up eight
percent from 2011. Despite the apparent benefits, about a third (34 percent)
of workers still do not participate in any of the wellness programs offered by
their employers.

Employer Incentives on the Rise

As wellness programs become more popular, employers are offering a variety of
ways to encourage employees to participate. The survey shows the top three
ways employees are encouraged by their employers to participate in wellness
programs are: encouragement by management (20 percent), lower health insurance
costs to those who participate (20 percent), or allotted time for
participation during the workday (20 percent, up from 9 percent). Only a
little more than a third (36 percent) say their employers do not offer any
encouragement to participate in wellness benefits, a significant divergence
from the previous three years, when about half of participants said their
employer did nothing to encourage wellness program participation.

Participants also cited an increase in the following employer incentives:

  *Seventeen percent, up from 9 percent the previous year, say their employer
    offers contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement
  *Sixteen percent, up from 12 percent the previous year, say their employer
    provides other financial incentives such as gift certificates or discounts
    for those who participate;
  *And 10 percent, up from 6 percent the previous year, report that their
    employer rewards additional paid time off from work to participants.

“It’s in every employer’s interest to have healthier, happier, more productive
employees,” said Dukes. “Employers have to do more than offer wellness
programs; in order to see the benefits, they have to incent participation.”

For more news and insights from The Principal^®, connect with us on Twitter

This Principal Financial Well-Being Index ^SM survey was conducted online
within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Principal
Financial Group^® between October 30 and November 7, 2012 among 1,103

This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in
the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses. The first Principal
Financial Well-Being Index^SM survey was conducted in the United States in

About the Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group^®(The Principal^®)^1is a global investment
management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset
management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional
clients a wide range of financial products and services through its diverse
family of companies. Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500^®, the
Principal Financial Group has $392.2 billion in assets under management^2and
serves some 18.3 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia,
Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc.
is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms,
leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant
insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll^®  and for
pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary
solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and
reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and
communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of
industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy,
telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant,
and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of
multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing
our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries
and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris
specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our
clients-stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

^1"The Principal Financial Group" and "The Principal" are registered service
marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal
Financial Group.

^2As of September 30, 2012.


Principal Financial Group
Erica Jensen, 515-362-0049
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