January 11, 2021

Four Key Characteristics of an Effective Employee Wellbeing Program

In order to foster a happy, engaged, and productive workforce, companies must invest in their employees’ wellbeing.

Not only is this critical for an organization’s success and growth, but choosing to prioritize employees’ health will determine an employer’s value proposition and brand for years to come. How companies treat their workforce matters — a lot.

Of course, there are a few major challenges to creating an effective global employee wellbeing program. First, employees have a spectrum of needs that span across different areas of their lives — physical, emotional, mental, social, financial, and socioeconomic — and these needs are complex, ever-evolving, and interconnected.

The second major challenge? Designing a program that yields the value employer’s desire. For a variety of reasons, program engagement remains low, making it difficult for employers to improve the health of their workforce and maximize their wellbeing investment. And many times, fragmented data leads to an inability to personalize offerings and tangibly measure outcomes. So, even if the program was effective, there’s no way to really know.

What Should an Employee Wellbeing Program Look Like?

In order for a wellbeing program to generate high engagement numbers and be truly effective, it should be personalized, holistic, omnichannel, and flexible.

1. Personalization

Unfortunately, when it comes to health, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Remember: Every individual has a wide variety of needs that are always changing. Wellbeing programs should leverage comprehensive data in order to provide proactive and tailored health recommendations to meet the needs and goals of each and every participant and their families.

2. A Holistic Approach

More often than not, an employee’s needs will not be siloed in one area of their health. Don, for example, could have Type II Diabetes, meaning he’d benefit from physical health offerings, such as activity tracking and nutritional guidance.

However, Don may also suffer from depression. In that case, mental health programming would help him, too — especially considering there are strong links between mental and physical wellbeing. Point solutions simply will not work. There must be a centralized platform Don and his colleagues can use to address all of their health-related concerns.

3. Omnichannel Communication Options

At Castlight, we strongly believe employees should be able to reach out to their wellbeing program support team through multiple different communication methods, specifically phone, email, and chat.

With an omnichannel approach — versus multichannel — all of these options are available and they’re connected in a way that ensures data flows back and forth, allowing the participant to be served in a more holistic way.

For instance, if Joan reaches out to Castlight via chat to ask a question about her activity tracking app, then calls in a few days later to follow up, the Castlight team member who answers the phone should be able to easily view Joan’s chat history. This will make Joan’s experience much more seamless and pain-free.

4. Flexibility

Wellbeing needs evolve over time — just look at how COVID-19 has changed so many things, worldwide. Companies and their programming had to change rapidly in order to accommodate a new socially distanced or remote workforce. In addition, the mental health implications of the pandemic have been staggering. Among U.S. adults, anxiety has increased threefold and depression fourfold.

When a global employee wellbeing program has these four characteristics, employers can meet their population’s spectrum of needs. They’ll see higher registration rates and more program activity, which will help them achieve their employee population health goals.

Want to hear how Johnson & Johnson integrated digital wellbeing via Castlight into its culture of health? Watch this recent fireside chat. To view all of our past webinars and register for upcoming ones, click here.

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