In the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Expenditures Survey, health care costs made up 8.4% of the average American household budget.
When you pay that much, you don’t want to waste a dime. That’s why employees are becoming increasingly discerning health care consumers, seeking out care and resources that work for their unique needs.
How can you help employees effectively curate their health care for optimal results … without getting too involved in their health care decisions?
Personalization Through Curation
In this busy, stressful world, employees can find it frustrating to wade through the noise to find the best health care resources and information for their situation.
But that’s precisely what they’re doing.
Why? Because they want to know their medical providers care for them and will address the topics relevant to them and their families. They want more information, more transparency and more respect for their diverse individual circumstances.
As it turns out, your wellness program and platform can offer employees a way to curate and personalize their own health care in an accessible, economical and self-directed way—providing a helpful bridge across their health care gaps … and some valuable benefits for your business.
Related Reading: Why You Should Let Employees Choose What Mindfulness Means to Them
The Business Benefits of Wellness Program Personalization
Let’s be honest: Not everything you publish or offer in your wellness program appeals to every employee. They pay attention to what matters to them and ignore the rest.
When you offer them a curated, personalized experience with your wellness program, that changes the game.
Suddenly, everything appeals to them.
And the content in their personal “channel” is specific to where they are on their health and well-being journey. The benefits are numerous and can have a positive impact across the company.
It Motivates Employees to Seek Health Care
During the pandemic, the primary focus of almost every health care provider was to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treat those who were infected. As a result, prevention and medical care for other conditions and illnesses took a back seat.
Unfortunately, that inability to seek care has become a tendency to not seek care. One in five adults delayed care (even cancer screenings) during the pandemic … and many are still doing so. Why? Financial constraints play a role, as does the fear of a worst-case diagnosis.
Considering that many employees are emerging from the pandemic with ailments from dental issues to back problems to mental health conditions, the odds are very good that your employee population wellness is considerably lower than it was a couple of years ago. Wellness content that is curated for specific health conditions and populations can support employees in getting the care they are overdue for.
It Makes Your Company More Inclusive
If you’re anywhere on the continuum of implementing a DEI program, you’re already starting to understand the impact of personalization and how important equitable care is to ensuring a healthy workforce.
“Think about the physical and mental health disparities and the barriers that impact underrepresented groups. Those barriers include lack of availability, stigma within minority populations, racism, bias and discrimination in treatment settings, insurance coverage and myriad other things that require unique solutions.”
– J. Israel Greene, DEI Strategist and Facilitator, Greene Consulting Group
Viewing your wellness program through an equity lens and factoring in social determinants of health in your program’s personalization options can make your company more attractive to diverse talent. It can also help create a culture of inclusion where every employee is encouraged to seek out the support they need while trusting they will receive it. This is going to be especially important for employees who haven’t been to the doctor for annual visits or even treatment for serious illness.
Related Reading: Getting Past the Top 5 Barriers to DEI Program Implementation
It Impacts Your Bottom Line
By helping employees access curated, personalized health care and resources, they’re able to stretch their health care dollars farther and use them much more effectively. This not only helps their bottom line, it helps yours. The authors of a September 2021 McKinsey & Company article titled “Innovating employee health: Time to break the mold?” made a strong case for adopting a return-on-investment mindset when it comes to employee health, citing that:
- Poor employee health pulls the economy down by 16% every year.
- Organizations that support employee mental health see a return $4 for every $1 spent.
- By addressing racial and ethnic health inequities, U.S. employers could save up to $80 billion.
How to Curate a Personalized Wellness Program
There’s no formula for curating health care and wellness content—the whole point is to make it as personal and customized as possible.
Our Well-being Strategy Consultant team helps guide our clients with data-backed strategies to add personalization in content, services and wellness challenges based on their employees’ diverse needs. Follow these best practices to set your team on the right path.
Gather Employee Needs and Preferences
In addition to understanding what your organization as a whole needs from your wellness program, make sure to have employees complete a health assessment to understand their specific needs. You may also want to create an “anchor challenge” for the entire company that has opportunities for employees to select their preferences for how they want to participate. That information is incredibly useful for personalization.
Additionally, make sure to find out communication preferences. A member of your company’s sales team, for example, might spend more time with their mobile phone than their laptop. Text alerts could drive more engagement than email.
Related Reading: From Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Integration
Curate Content for Unique Populations
A highly effective way to inject personalization into your wellness program is by curating “channels” specific to employees with preexisting health conditions (or those at risk).
This can include:
- Disease-specific data sheets, survey links, websites and other resources from participating health plans and associations.
- Quick links to benefits plans, EAPs and other services like health coaching and counseling
- Training videos, educational courses and webinars related to disease-specific prevention, nutrition, exercise and any number of other factors.
- Wellness challenges that develop skills, strength, emotional intelligence, empathy, cultural intelligence … the opportunities are endless!
Don’t forget to personalize incentives and rewards based on what motivates your individual employees.
If you want to be a personalization superstar, you can give employees the option to create a completely custom wellness program that aligns with their unique health goals and lifestyle, with helpful content that pertains to their interests.
Case Study: Health Plan Transforms Employer Wellness Program
When this health plan wanted to find a scalable solution with cost containment and the ability to support each employee’s individual journey to wellness, they chose to white label WellRight’s wellness platform to deliver client programs that uniquely reflect each company’s culture. The results were extremely positive, boosting the health plan’s value with its clients.
One-Size-Fits-All Doesn’t Fit Employees Anymore
“Choose your own adventure” stories are popular for a reason: People want choice.
And as employees face no relief from increased health care costs, they’re seeking out personalized, curated care and resources that will help them optimize their spend and get what they need.
Your wellness platform and program can meet your employees exactly where they are and show them the way to better health … while also improving the health of your business.