Cigna: Global Survey Finds China Employers Promote Health in the Workplace

  • Almost half of employers in China surveyed offer health promotion programs
  • Workplace safety is a top concern
  • 73% of Chinese employers measure specific outcomes from health promotion

SHANGHAI & BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--()--In a special report prepared for the Global Healthy Workplace Awards and Summit (GHWAS) sponsored by Cigna in Shanghai, nearly half of China’s employers surveyed say they promote health at the workplace, and 73 percent say they measure specific health outcomes. The preliminary findings, reflecting results from 1,000 employers worldwide, including more than 80 in China, were released today as part of a pre-publication preview of results from the 2014 Buck Consultants’ global survey, “Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies.” Since 2007, this survey has investigated emerging trends in employer-sponsored health promotion and wellness programs. Cigna and the GHWAS are the exclusive sponsors of the 2014 survey – which will be released in full in May by Buck Consultants, Cigna and the Global Healthy Workplace Awards and Summit.

Among the findings:

  • 48% of Chinese respondents offer a health risk appraisal (HRA) while another 22% plan to offer an HRA next year.
  • 73% of Chinese employers surveyed measure specific outcomes from health promotion programs compared to 53% globally. This may be related to occupational health indicators that are better established and easier to track.
  • 54% of surveyed employers have had a strategy for five years or less.

“We see an encouraging trend in China with regard to promoting healthy workplaces. Both the government and employers have recognized the value of enhancing population health via the workplace and a growing number of programs have surfaced. However, the working environment, physical and psychosocial, still is a significant risk to employee health in many workplaces," said Wolf Kirsten, founder and president of International Health Consulting.

Onsite occupational health programs are the most common workplace programs, followed by regular communications, onsite medical facilities and ergonomic programs. Employee meetings are the main channel for communication, while electronic tools such as targeted e-mails and web portals are also used.

Safety, both workplace and personal, is at the top in terms of health issues targeted by China’s employers.

“Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) professionals often take leadership of health promotion in China, especially in the large manufacturing and mining industries,” said Barry Hall, Buck Consultant’s Global Innovation Research Leader. “Perhaps as a result of this focus, improving workplace safety is the top objective of health promotion programs in China indicated by survey respondents.”

Globally, the survey finds that workplace health promotion programs remain more common in North America compared to the rest of the world. Thirty percent of responding organizations have a fully implemented wellness strategy. This number continues to increase every year, documenting the continued growth in workplace health promotion. Fifty-four percent of multinational employers have global strategies (up from 34 percent in 2007), and those that do not cite differing cultures, laws and practices as well as lack of global oversight for health care as their key obstacles to implementing a global strategy. Employers’ leading reasons for implementing wellness programs are to reduce sick leave and presenteeism, with improving workforce morale becoming increasingly important, especially in Europe and Australia.

Worldwide survey findings will be available and distributed in May.

“Workplace wellness promotion is a relatively new concept for local employers in China - but the level of interest and desire to understand is growing very quickly. The Global Healthy Workplace Awards & Summit undoubtedly creates an ideal platform to share best practices and recognize those who have accomplished effective and innovative programs in the workplace. This award program can serve as a catalyst for employers to drive health and wellness initiatives for their employees to improve their health, wellbeing and sense of security,” said Howard Gough, CEO of Cigna’s Middle East & Asia Pacific Region, Global Employer Segment.

The GHWAS attracted employers of all sizes, health system leaders, universities, policy leaders, NGOs, and world-renowned award judges and speakers amid a two-day packed agenda on topics ranging from addressing public health promotion in China, to mental well-being and happiness at work, to creating healthy workplaces for NGO workers. For more information visit or

About the Cigna Foundation

The Cigna Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 80 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About Buck Consultants

Buck Consultants, a Xerox Company, is a leader in human resource and benefits consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. Founded in 1916 to advise clients in establishing and funding some of the nation’s first public and private retirement programs, Buck is an innovator in the areas of retirement benefits, health and welfare programs, talent and human resources solutions, compensation, and employee communications. Learn more about Buck Consultants at

About GKEN

Global Knowledge Exchange Network on health care (GKEN) is chartered as a not for profit (501c-3) and is focused on advancing emerging better practices in health and health care among developing and developed nations around the globe. Our emphasis is on the health system aspects of health and healthcare. Through engaging thought leaders around the globe we create cross cultural learning that enables improvements in health system practices.

About i-genius

i-genius is a world community of social entrepreneurs with members in over 200 countries. It promotes social entrepreneurship and provides training, events and business development support to its global community. Based in London.

About International Health Consulting

International Health Consulting (IHC) is an independent health promotion consultancy with locations in central Europe and the United States. Armed with a network of over 250 international health promotion professionals worldwide, IHC can develop customized solutions that are tailored to local populations.


Cigna Corporation
Jennifer Hirsch
+86 (21) 6193-7583 (Shanghai)

Release Summary

A special report prepared for the Global Healthy Workplace Awards and Summit sponsored by Cigna in Shanghai shows encouraging trends in China with regard to promoting healthy workplaces.


Cigna Corporation
Jennifer Hirsch
+86 (21) 6193-7583 (Shanghai)