Jul 10, 2012 01:21 PM EDT

Better Employee Health Brings More Job Benefits


When weighing one job over another people don't just consider the salary alone, they also take into account perks like wellness packages and other benefits that might come with working at a company. Wellness packages typically range from gym memberships to weight loss programs. Employers are becoming more aggressive to get employees to use these benefits that can help whip them into shape and potentially earn even more benefits.

For employees who lose weight or quit smoking, companies are more likely to offer them discounts on their insurance premiums according to a survey done by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Employers are becoming more and more invested in employee health. In 2009, only four percent of employers offered benefits for weight loss, now nine percent of employers offer them.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for companies offering smoking cessation classes, as the number has remained at a steady 40 percent through the years. Additionally money put towards fitness clubs has fallen from 35 percent in 2009, to 31 percent today. This is however a one percent increase from last year. Programs focused on weight loss have remained in the 30 percent range since 2009, but saw an increase by two percent this year.

In regards to financial wellness, employers are promoting the idea of workers managing their own retirement plans. The study revealed that 92 percent of companies offer defined contribution retirement plans including 401 (k), compared to a small 21 percent that offers traditional pensions.

"By shifting primary responsibility in controlling certain healthcare and financial benefits, employers are recognizing a shift in workplace culture," said Mark Schmit, vice president of research for SHRM, to MSNBC's Lifeinc. "The new plans allow employees to have more control over how they save for retirement and manage their health, while reducing costs for employers, these plans are also more flexible, and thus more attractive, to employees who will likely not spend an entire career with one organization."

In many different ways, employers are working to whip employees into shape and have them take more financial responsibility of their futures, this is only a start to a healthier workforce.

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