Though employers have prioritized employee health and wellbeing for a long time, the pandemic has underscored just how critical it really is. As a result, many organizations are planning to strengthen and expand their benefits offerings to better meet their people where they’re at in their personal health journey.
At the same time, the digital health industry is innovating and evolving more quickly than ever before. (In 2021, digital health companies raised $29.1 billion, which is almost double the total of 2020 and nearly four times the amount raised in 2019.) Employers can now choose from thousands of health and wellbeing solutions to provide.
Overall, this trend is good. However, employees are often becoming overwhelmed by their benefits options (some organizations offer their people as many as 50 different programs and resources), and they aren’t sure what to choose. This leads to low engagement, which results in poorer health outcomes and higher healthcare costs in the long run—which means employer health benefits investments are unfortunately going to waste.
How to Become a Healthier Company
According to The Josh Bersin Company, the healthiest companies “have a global view of wellbeing and continually seek to apply a health lens to work, employees, and the organization,” which ultimately leads to positive business and people outcomes.
In addition, they found that for many of these companies, health navigation is an essential component of their workforce strategy. In fact, companies deemed “healthy organizations” by The Josh Bersin Company are twice as likely to engage a digital health navigation partner.
Recently, Josh Bersin and his team put together a report outlining the best practices these healthy companies are using to make sure their employees can always get care and support for their unique health needs.
4 Leading Practices for Employee Health Navigation
1. Foster Whole-Person Health
Building a healthy organization requires addressing all of the following elements in The Josh Bersin Company’s Healthy Organization Framework:
- Physical health (e.g., fitness programs, preventive care visits)
- Mental wellbeing (e.g., coaching, work-life integration)
- Financial fitness (e.g., fair and equitable compensation, financial counseling)
- Social health and community service (e.g., community giveback, workplace bonding)
- Safe workplace (e.g., safe facilities and work sites, diversity and inclusion)
- Healthy culture (e.g., human-centered leaders)
- Technology and HR capabilities (e.g., privacy, security, communications)
Simply put, the approach to employee health should be holistic, and wellbeing should be woven into every aspect of the company.
2. Engage the Entire Population
There is no one-size-fits all solution. Each and every employee has their own needs, and it’s imperative to meet them all where they’re at, whether they’re sick, healthy, or managing a condition.
Just because someone is healthy doesn’t mean they shouldn’t engage in their health and wellbeing. Rather, they should be proactive about staying healthy so they can reduce the chance of dealing with health issues later in life. For individuals with chronic conditions, it’s important to ensure they have a strong community of care—from specialists, to community resources, to digital condition management solutions—that they can seamlessly and regularly engage with.
Lastly, there should be resources for employees to leverage when they require immediate care and support, such as injury or trauma or guidance during a public health crisis like COVID-19.
3. Leverage Data to Provide the Right Care for All
Employers already have access to a plethora of employee information and health data from an array of sources, such as surveys, wearables, performance reviews, and self-reported health assessments. And this treasure trove of data will get even larger as employers add more programs, resources, and tools to their benefits arsenal.
This data can (and should) be used in a variety of ways—from identifying patterns within the employee population, to anticipating employee health needs, to keeping a pulse on the types of programs employees tend to engage with most, and more.
For example, employers could leverage data to proactively send information about healthy heart habits and programs to employees with chronic high blood pressure. Or, they could use data such as time off, absenteeism, and utilization of stress management programs to assess if burnout is a company-wide challenge that needs to be addressed.
Consistently leveraging data-driven insights allows employers to better tailor their offerings to what employees truly want and need to achieve better health and wellbeing, thus leading to smarter benefits investments.
4. Blend High-Tech and High-Touch Solutions
How people choose to access and engage with their health and wellbeing is also personal, which means health navigation solutions should provide both digital and human support.
A digital home for health provides employees with a personalized gateway to health and wellness programs where they can find tailored health recommendations, employer-sponsored benefits offerings, and options to manage their health through clinical settings or at home with wellness programs and activities. To further increase engagement, navigation tools should be intuitive and visually appealing and include a gamification aspect (i.e., the ability to earn rewards upon completing specific actions).
Ideally, digital navigation solutions are paired with live support—clinical and benefits experts who employees can reach out to for help with a wide variety of issues. At Castlight, we’re proud to provide our customers and their populations with Castlight Care Guides.
An effective health navigation solution leans heavily on data to connect people with the care and programs that are right for them. It employs a holistic approach, engages the whole population, includes both high-tech and high-touch approaches, and will ultimately lead to better health outcomes and lower costs of care.