What Does a Wellness Program Look Like in Northeast Ohio?

Perhaps not surprisingly, 2013's Workplace Practices Survey found that concerns about rising healthcare costs are becoming more prevalent among many organizations in Northeast Ohio. While organizations have very little control over many of the external factors that may be driving some of these concerns, such as the many unknowns associated with the upcoming implementation of provisions of the ACA, internally, many organizations are turning to wellness related programs for their employees as a method for managing these costs proactively.

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Local Wellness Programs and the ACA

Based on the results of the 2013-2014 ERC Policies & Benefits survey, Northeast Ohio employers are well positioned to take advantage of the recently released Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations increasing the maximum rewards employers may offer employees for participation in wellness programs. Local employers have consistently outpaced the national averages in terms of their wellness initiatives, with specific programs illustrated in Figure 1 below.

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Employee Wellness Programs Flourish in Northeast Ohio

With the start of a new year often comes many health related resolutions and a chance for employees and employers alike to take a fresh look at their wellness both in and out of the workplace. Perhaps most common among these resolutions are those related to weight-loss and exercise, particularly in a workplace more and more focused on relatively sedentary “desk-jobs”. Conventional wisdom would suggest that when it comes to weight management, it is these employees that would struggle most to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. However, a recent article published in the Plain Dealer, reports that employers may actually need to be more concerned about the wellness of a very different group of employees.

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Occupational Outlook: A Snapshot of 2013

A recent article from Forbes.com, cited Software Developers, Accountants & Auditors, and Market Research Analysts as the three job categories with the “best” outlook for 2013. According to the report, these jobs have seen job growth rates since 2010 of 7%, 3%, and 10% respectively. In terms of the total number of positions that’s just under 140,000 individual jobs created among those top three categories, with half falling exclusively under the Software Developer category (including both systems and applications developers).

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Raises Hit 3%, Projections Remain Strong

In an economy fraught with ongoing uncertainty, Northeast Ohio employers hit a once seemingly insignificant milestone in terms of salary and wage adjustments for 2012 and 2013, 3% raises. The overall average actual and projected raises reported in ERC’s annual Wage and Salary Adjustment Survey both hit 3%, the first time both figures have reached the 3% mark together since 2008. Further optimism for 2012 can be found in projections for 2013, which indicate that of those organizations projecting raises for 2013, more than half are predicting at least 3% raises.

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