Employee wellness programs are moving beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.
Wellness is an $8 billion industry in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And corporations have been getting into the act for years, with nearly half of employers offering some kind of wellness benefits to employees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An investment in employee wellness can lead to reduced health care costs, per the CDC’s research—and more importantly, these programs can give workers the tools and support they need to lead happier, healthier, more productive lives, both in and out of the office—when deployed strategically, that is.
Today, many companies provide a comprehensive suite of wellness offerings designed to help with everything from improving sleep to saving for retirement to getting mental health support. However, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming, particularly for employees already suffering from burnout. The last thing you want your corporate wellness program to do is to feel like more work. This creates a poor experience for you and your employees, which leads to low engagement and limited results.
“The most effective programs avoid this pitfall by creating a personalized employee experience,” says Kevin Porter, president and CEO of SentryHealth, a well-being management company based in Louisville. Instead of having workers sort through an array of offerings, many of which likely aren’t relevant to their particular needs, SentryHealth’s goal is to highlight the programs and tools that are meaningful and will drive the greatest results.
“The key is to center on the individual, and build outward from there,” Porter says. Leveraging medical, pharmacy, and biometric data, as well as data from demographics and self-reported assessments, an individualized member profile is created for each person that joins WellOnMyWay, SentryHealth’s total health and well-being management program. Based on this profile, which continually updates as members engage, WellOnMyWay matches the member with relevant programs that fit their unique health needs and lifestyle. For a parent struggling with childcare costs, for instance, financial planning services might be most important. For a single employee experiencing depression or anxiety, mental health services are a vital resource. For someone recently diagnosed with a chronic medical condition, health management programs are key.
Once a member is enrolled, engagement is tracked on a real-time basis. If activity or responsiveness begins to drop off, members will receive outreach to check in and provide encouragement.
“We are tracking the journey, from the identification of need or issue all the way through the outcomes,” Porter says. This approach alleviates much of the stress associated with starting or maintaining a wellness program. Because, after all, corporate wellness programs should do what they purport to do: provide relief to busy employers and employees, not add another item to their already full plates.