Crash Course: Employee Wellbeing 101
Typically, when companies think of maximizing their employee health, they think of investing in and implementing employee wellness programs. And mistakenly, they think of employee wellness and employee wellbeing as one and the same. However, there is much more to employee wellbeing than competitive step challenges or weight management programs. That’s because corporate wellbeing programs are much more comprehensive, supporting not only physical health but also mental, financial and social health, too. Sharpen your pencils and get ready to take notes. Here’s what you need to know about employee wellbeing programs.
Pre-Reading: Why Do You Need an Employee Wellbeing Program?
Employee wellbeing is more important than ever and can boost things like employee engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and productivity in addition to creating a happier and healthier work environment. These days job seekers are looking at the whole package when it comes to accepting a position and that includes the wellness programs.
In addition to the great benefits for employees, a wellness program can also help to reduce employer health care costs, absenteeism and turnover. Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans states that employers who create cultures of health see 11% lower turnover than employers who did little to prioritize wellbeing.
Many employers now view employee wellbeing as a key business strategy. The 12th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-Being Survey from the National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments noted that 90% of employers credit wellbeing strategy as playing a role in overall business strategy – with 28% saying wellbeing takes a fundamental place in strategy. This number has been steadily increasing.
Hit the Books: Go Beyond Employee Wellness
Employers across the nation are stepping up with a goal of exceeding employee expectations for wellbeing support. Instead of offering an ordinary corporate wellness solution, they are supporting employee health across all dimensions of wellbeing through a well-rounded and sustainable approach.
With our consumer data, including SDOH insights and predictive analytics, we are able to proactively engage users in relevant programs specific to their needs, all while motivating them to take action with integrated rewards. Our Total Wellbeing Solution includes a full spectrum of programs and categories to maximize employee engagement, such as:
- Better Sleep
- Staying Connected
- Brain Boost
- Step Challenges
- Office Ergonomics
- Healthier Relationships
- Combatting Loneliness
- Inclusion – Overcoming Bias
Common Pitfall: One-Size-Fits-All
More than 60% of employees are seeking support from their employer for all aspects of health, according to a survey we conducted. While there is consensus on the desire for total wellbeing support (physical, financial, emotional and social), what people need varies based on age, gender, marital status, health status and motivation. This is why it’s essential employers provide individualized programming to truly have an impact.
Help Me, Help Myself
People want (and expect) their employer to help them achieve their personal wellbeing goals. Companies are starting to make the effort, but only 16% of employees strongly agree that they know where to find all the health and wellbeing resources available to them. Additionally, 56% of employees have received irrelevant support, wasting time and money. Employers must address these challenges by making it easy for employees to find and use programs.
The Struggle is Real
Employers are failing the stress test. Over 50% of Millennials have seriously considered switching jobs due to workplace stress, and while employers are taking notice, only 33% of respondents say their employers offer stress management programs to them. This underscores the importance of effectively providing the right support to the right individual when and where it is needed, or risk greater employee burnout and turnover.
Swing and a Miss
56% of employees say the health and wellbeing programs offered by their employers are irrelevant, wasting company time and money. Delivering more personalized programming would motivate over 80% of employees to participate more, along with a variety of non-cash incentives like paid time off and massages (both stress relievers, too!).
Employers can improve the experience by organizing all wellbeing resources into one, easy-to-use platform. Evidence also shows that taking a more personalized approach to employee wellbeing programs benefits the bottom line, with higher employee engagement, increased productivity and reduced medical costs. This is a win-win for employees too, as they want a total wellbeing program that supports their health and improves daily living.
Pop Quiz: Is Your Wellbeing Program as Diverse as You Think It Is?
Are your benefits offerings as inclusive as you think they are? According to the 12th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-Being Survey from National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments, about half of employers are auditing their benefits and wellbeing initiatives to assess inclusivity, followed by creating initiatives specifically designed to support marginalized populations.
Understanding employees and dependents beyond an eligibility file allows you to be more inclusive, support diversity and create more equity in terms of benefits, access to care and support.
By meeting people where they are, you are part of the systemic change that can better support each and every employee. Virgin Pulse is your DE&I ally when it comes to Total Wellbeing. We analyze social determinants of health factors like household composition, home and car ownership or purchasing habits to predict individual’s risk and motivations – all while protecting privacy. These insights power our Employee Total Wellbeing Solution, providing an individualized and rewarding experience for all employees that drives actions and results.
Higher Education: How to Leverage Incentives
Improving employee participation in wellbeing programs requires several components:
- Understanding individual health and wellbeing goals
- Delivering relevant programming to support these goals
- Motivating employees to take action and get rewarded
An effective rewards program must align the right type of incentive with the targeted action. Cash rewards and insurance premium reductions are commonly used to motivate employers to complete health-related activities.
But it’s not all about the money. Employees are interested in many types of incentives – extra vacation time (74%), flexible work schedule (62%), and wellness benefits (55%) are the most popular non-traditional choices. Less attractive incentives were volunteer time, commuter benefits and lunch with company leadership.
Top 10 Non-Traditional Motivators Ranked by Employees
- Extra vacation time
- Flexible work schedule
- Wellness benefits (e.g. gym membership)
- Discounts on local activities and goods
- Raffles for large gifts (e.g. trips, iPads)
- Sporting event tickets
- Lottery tickets
- Discounts on fitness equipment
- Donate to a charity of choice
- Company gear (logo t-shirts)
To keep employees actively involved, companies should consider a mix of traditional awards (e.g., $25 for a flu shot) and more creative options (e.g., extra vacation time for attending a 401k planning workshop). Additionally, rewards must also be appropriately matched to the targeted action.
In 2020 alone, Virgin Pulse rewarded nearly $100 million to users for participation in wellbeing programs. Over the years, we’ve seen gift cards secure the spot for the most popular type of rewards. Here’s the inside scoop on what’s hot right now:
- Most popular type of reward: Digital gift cards
- Most popular destination: Amazon and Walmart
- “Biggest mover”: Lowe’s gift cards experienced a 15% increase over 2019 (All that time at home and DIY-ing accurately reflected the state of 2020)
- Watch list: Grocery stores
Final Exam: Our Approach Works
COVID put a spotlight on the need for relevant support to guide employees on their wellbeing journey. And with employees looking to their employers for health and wellbeing support now more than ever, you can’t afford to choose the wrong wellbeing partner. Our approach to total employee wellbeing works – and the data proves it. Virgin Pulse delivers significant results for employers.
Compared to other wellness programs, Virgin Pulse is a true wellbeing partner, offering a scalable platform that addresses all aspects of health. Through our web and mobile app, we streamline access to existing and new wellbeing programs, delivering value for our clients by making it easy for employees to find and use them.
Virgin Pulse engages and activates people in their health and wellbeing by using predictive analytics to accurately identify the right programs for the right target groups and reaches them using a regular cadence of multi-channel communications using email, automated voice, texting, social, postcards and more. Our unique practices surpass traditional targeting methods to deliver a personalized experience to each individual. Doing so, we are able to provide employees with the right resources at the right time using the communication channels they prefer.
Our engagement experts are ready to help you activate your employee population in meaningful ways. Put Virgin Pulse to the test and book a no-fail, 10-minute demo to see how Virgin Pulse can help you and your employees not just survive, but thrive.
ROI, Cost Savings and Benefits of Employee Wellbeing Programs