Employees across the nation have rung the alarm—fitness challenges and one-size-fits-all well-being programs are not what they want or need. Yet, the majority (84%) of employees say their company offers the same resources to all employees. A new survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Welltok, found that nearly 60% of respondents are getting irrelevant well-being support from their employers. Serving up the wrong programs like smoking cessation aid to a nonsmoker not only causes disengagement but also wastes time and money.
Misaligned and mistargeted well-being benefits are both costly and ineffective. With a booming economy and an abundance of options employees can shop around for, it is critical that employers focus on what will keep their employees engaged, healthy, and performing at their very best. Here are a few critical ways that employers can better personalize health benefits in 2019.
Redefine What ‘Health’ Means
Health is no longer purely physical; it now involves financial stability, positive relationships, and stress management. This research shows that more than half of employees are seeking support from their employer—covering all aspects of health—and financial health is their top priority.
Furthermore, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to employee health and well-being. It is essential for employers to address the different needs of their employees by accounting for age, gender, marital status, health status, and motivation. What applies to one individual may not apply to the next. Employers that consider their employees’ personal needs and provide individualized programming will truly make a lasting impact and drive results. More than 80% of workers would increase participation in well-being programs if they were personalized to fit their own needs and preferences.
Give Employees Something They Value Even More Than Cash: Time
Despite the common phrase that “cash is king,” data show that employees also strongly value happiness. Lower-income employees are not necessarily prioritizing money but, instead, are looking for a higher purpose. Take the initiative to determine whether your employees are motivated purely by money or if they value happiness and personal time on a more profound level.
Besides personal time, employees are also motivated by incentives such as a flexible work schedule, wellness benefits, and discounts on local activities. Less attractive incentives were volunteer time, commuter benefits, and lunch with company leadership. Use data, cultural instincts, and soft listening skills to determine what exactly motivates your employees. Happy employees create a more productive work environment.
Don’t Ignore Stress; It Won’t Go Away
One-third of all working Americans say that work stress is negatively impacting their life. Stress leads to absenteeism and lack of productivity and can be detrimental to overall health, too. Over 50% of Millennials have seriously considered switching jobs because of workplace stress, but only one-third of those same respondents say their employers offer stress management programs. Specific stress factors differ for each employee. It’s essential to leverage data to understand people at an individual level and to provide the right type of support when and where they need it.
Employees want to be their best selves, both in and out of the office, and the majority want their employer to help. Developing an effective well-being strategy and understanding what employees need at an individual level are critical for today’s employers. The good news is that taking a more personalized approach to employee well-being programs benefits the bottom line with less absenteeism and reduced medical costs. This is a win-win for employees, too, as they want and need a well-being program that supports their health and improves daily living.
Scott Rotermund is the Cofounder & Chief Growth Officer at Welltok.