HERO, MERCER release 2020 Progress Report for HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer


NEW YORK and RALEIGH, NC (January 19, 2021) — The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and Mercer released today the 2020 Progress Report for the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© (HERO Scorecard). Among other findings, the report shows a growing consensus around the business case for well-being initiatives, an evolution in incentive strategies for employers, and best practices that are most often connected with optimal outcomes.


Findings and analyses from the 2020 Progress Report are based on the responses of companies that completed the HERO Scorecard V4 between July 2014 and September 2020. The number of HERO Scorecard completers has increased 30% since the 2018 Progress Report, indicating a growing interest among employers in benchmarking their well-being initiatives and outcomes against similarly situated organizations. The importance of employee well-being is underscored by the fact that 30% of respondents say their senior leaders view health and well-being as connected to broader business results “to a great extent” (up from 22% in 2016), while 49% of companies say their corporate vision or mission statement supports a workplace culture of health (up from 35%).


“Participation in the HERO Scorecard continues to increase year over year, which is yet another testament to the growing employer commitment to improving workplace and community well-being. This is more important than ever, as the world continues to grapple with the health inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karen Moseley, president and CEO of HERO. “Completing the HERO Scorecard gives them a comprehensive assessment of their initiatives and their outcomes and provides guidance for future efforts.”


More than 1,300 organizations have completed the current version of the HERO Scorecard and nearly 200 companies have taken it more than once. The HERO Scorecard asks employers about the adoption and outcomes of well-being best practices, such as the use of financial incentives, strategic planning, program integration, and the breadth of programs offered. According to Mary Imboden, director of research for HERO, repeat participation allows researchers to measure changes in well-being practices over time.


“The HERO Scorecard has been designed to keep pace with both best practice research and real-world utilization of well-being strategies by a diverse range of organizations. The research findings and expert commentaries help organizations understand emerging trends and provide applicable recommendations for improving health and well-being initiatives,” said Imboden.


For example, the HERO Scorecard Progress Report includes in-depth analysis by population health professionals in several best practice areas, including:


  • Strategic planning,
  • Organizational and leadership support,
  • Program integration,
  • Program comprehensiveness,
  • Participation and social strategies to support well-being, and
  • Use of data to measure program performance.

Research using the HERO Scorecard has shed light on the role of leadership and organizational support in improving health and well-being outcomes. More specifically, the HERO Scorecard Progress Report showed that more companies are equipping managers and supervisors to support well-being, with 50% of respondents saying mid-level managers receive at least some support for their efforts to improve employee well-being. While this is up from 44% in 2016, researchers indicate there is opportunity to improve this practice.


According to Imboden, this Progress Report will be the last based on data from HERO Scorecard V4. HERO Scorecard V5, which is scheduled for release in early 2021, has been designed with input from industry experts and insights from previous learnings to keep pace with emerging research on well-being best practices and growing trends related to the expanded scope and comprehensiveness of health and well-being initiatives. 


“Beyond keeping it current and relevant, revising the HERO Scorecard allows it to continue providing invaluable benchmarks and data for organizations to support decisions about their well-being initiatives in an environment that continues to evolve rapidly,” said Steven Noeldner, Senior Consultant, Total Health Management, Mercer. “The HERO Scorecard lends credibility to these decisions and allows users to benefit from the experiences of other leading employers. The introduction of HERO Scorecard V5 makes it possible to take advantage of the latest insights leading into the future.”


In addition to expert research commentaries and trend analyses, the HERO Scorecard Progress Report features employer case studies by UKG and the City of Brentwood, CA that illustrate the utility of the HERO Scorecard as a resource for employers.


About the HERO Scorecard

The HERO Scorecard was launched in 2006 as a tool to help employers evaluate their health and well-being efforts against a comprehensive inventory of current best practices. The tool, available through the HERO website, was in its fourth edition during the development of this report and is available in both U.S. and international versions. To date, more than 1,300 employers have completed the U.S. version and nearly 400 have completed the international version.


The HERO Scorecard asks employers to provide information about strategic planning, organizational and cultural support for employee health and well-being, specific program offerings, integration of health and well-being programs with other areas of the company, strategies to encourage participation (such as communications and rewards), program costs, and outcomes. After submitting the online scorecard, an employer receives best practice scores in six areas that contribute to employee well-being, along with benchmarks that show how they compare to national employers.


To learn more or to complete the HERO Scorecard, visit www.HERO-health.org. To download the 2020 Progress Report, please visit https://hero-health.org/publication/2020-hero-scorecard-progress-report/.




Barbara Tabor, HERO / (+1 651-230-9192) / barbara@taborpr.com

Micaela McPadden, Mercer / (201)-694-9719 / micaela.mcpadden@mercer.com


About HERO – HERO (the Health Enhancement Research Organization) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that was established in 1996. HERO is dedicated to identifying and sharing best practices that improve the health and well-being of employees, their families and communities. To learn more, visit www.hero-health.org. Follow us on Twitter @heroehm or LinkedIn.


About MercerMercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s more than 25,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 76,000 colleagues and annual revenue of $17 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including MarshGuy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.