Josh Bersin: As the health and wellness industry matures, so should your strategy
November 25, 2019 / Workplace wellbeing
“Wellbeing is to business as fitness and exercise are to a sports team: it’s the critical set of tools, training and support needed to win more games.”
– Josh Bersin
Josh Bersin, esteemed HR analyst and founder of the Josh Bersin Academy, has released a new report that details the rapid growth of the corporate health and wellness industry. As outlined in the report, employee wellbeing is estimated to be a $US 47.5 billion market (as of 2017) and will continue to increase by 4.8% per year.
Why is the wellness market continuing to grow at such a rapid pace? According to Bersin, the triggers that inspired the health and wellness industry are still largely present in today’s workplace. Poor work-life balance, high stress levels and low engagement are affecting employees and slowing business outcomes. There are also record high employment levels, making it difficult for companies to find and retain top talent. These and other reasons alike point to a strong need for programmes that support employees in all areas of health and wellbeing. Ultimately, Bersin argues that “if the workplace is not supportive, if managers are not helpful and sensitive to employee needs, and if business leaders and HR departments are not creating a sense of focus, purpose, and productivity, people — and businesses — will suffer.”
More companies are stepping up to the plate and offering corporate wellbeing programs to their employees, but the most successful companies view them as a core business strategy, not just a benefit. This type of thinking is necessary for organisations that want to see real results from their wellbeing investment. Oftentimes, “the problem is not a lack of ideas or investment, but rather a lack of clarity about what to do and how to do it,” says Bersin. That’s why he created a maturity model so companies can assess where they stand and take the necessary next steps to advance their wellbeing strategy and achieve greater business outcomes.
Josh Bersin’s Corporate Wellbeing Maturity Model
Level 1 – Wellbeing as a healthcare benefit
At level one, wellbeing is offered in the form of basic healthcare benefits like health insurance and employee assistance programmes (programmes that are designed to help employees when they fall on hard times). These types of programmes aim to improve productivity and reduce absenteeism through access to basic healthcare. According to Bersin, these programmes are the foundation of the current health and wellness industry.
Level 2 – Wellbeing for personal improvement
At this stage, corporate wellbeing expands to include offerings for personal productivity and health improvement. Here we see companies offering employees fitness centres, walking and yoga classes, stress reduction programs and wellbeing challenges to help them improve their nutrition, mindfulness and fitness levels.
Level 3 – Wellbeing as a corporate performance strategy
Companies at level three move beyond fitness and health to a holistic view of wellbeing in the workplace. They begin to evaluate their work environment on a deeper level, viewing wellbeing as a strategic component of every facet of the business — including the hiring process, the physical work environment, learning and development, employee recognition and so on. Level three companies “shift from ‘making you healthier’ to ‘helping you perform better.’ And this is where the [health and wellbeing industry] is going,” says Bersin.
Level 4 – Wellbeing for social good
When companies start to leverage wellbeing for social good, they move up to level four. Their wellness programs extend beyond employees and their families and touch their local communities and stakeholders, whether through charitable giving, community events and activities or sustainable business practices. These companies understand that their products, manufacturing facilities, operations and other initiatives all factor into the employee experience. In order to make good on their wellbeing promise to employees, level four organisations make sure their large-scale operations align with their values.