Organizations have long looked to health and productivity programs as one way to keep workers healthier and stem the tide of higher health, absence and disability costs. The ongoing changes in provincial health care delivery, an increasing strain on the public health system and the prevalence of stress-related disabilities, among other factors, provide even more reasons for companies seeking improved productivity to focus on employee health. Against this backdrop, employers are shifting from offering a patchwork of wellness tactics to more integrated strategies that encompass workplace culture, physical and mental well-being, and employee health engagement.

According to Towers Watson's 2013/2014 Staying@Work Survey, Canadian employers increasingly realize that implementing a one-size-fits-all health program will not improve the health of their workforce. Instead, many organizations are now directing their attention to developing workplace cultures that support physical and mental health, and engage employees in the health equation. Employers also recognize that linking their health strategy with their employee value proposition is key to getting the most out of their efforts — and to driving sustained healthy behaviours.

The 2013/2014 Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey was conducted between May and July 2013 in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, and completed by a total of 892 employers, including 114 in Canada and 199 in the U.S. The respondents represent all major industry sectors. About half of the respondents are multinationals.