How to Invest in Employee Wellness Without Breaking the Bank
By: Emily Taylor, Chief Human Resource Officer and Chief Financial Officer
While we settle into this new year, employers will increasingly search for new solutions to help their employees manage challenges that arise, while also looking for ways to reduce costs and improve their bottom lines. As a result, many are turning to digital health offerings to teach people how to cope with adversity and develop the necessary skills to maintain and improve their mental and physical health. Not only can employers help their teams drive significant clinical improvements amongst employees, but they can also achieve monumental cost savings. On average, every dollar invested in an employee wellness program yields $6 in health care savings.
For each pound of excess weight an employee carries, organizations pay $82 in medical and disability costs. Now, as many people are struggling to navigate heightened levels of stress and anxiety, it’s critical that employers invest in proven solutions that can help their staff better manage their health and enhance their overall quality of life. Circumstances such as excess body fat, elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal triglyceride and cholesterol levels, can increase a person’s risk of chronic diseases, so it’s critical that employers act now to help their employees eliminate any threats to their overall physical and mental wellbeing.
It’s time to face challenges head on
So, how can employers successfully invest in their employees’ wellbeing through the implementation of digital health solutions? I have found that by providing a mix of the following offerings, organizations can enhance employee health and engagement, while generating cost savings:
- Mindful Eating and Weight-Management Programs: Providing programs that feature informative tools, educational videos, and positive food habit counsel can work wonders for keeping employees healthy, happy, and engaged. When a workforce has an increased volume of high-risk medical conditions, it’s not only costly to each individual’s quality of life, but it can also drive up costs, whether through medical care or lost productivity. Plus, letting them know you care about their health, and investing in solutions that can help them better manage their overall wellbeing, is a great way to strengthen company culture and employee engagement.
- Telehealth and Virtual Care: Mobile applications and virtual care services allow employees and members to speak securely with healthcare professionals remotely, from the comfort of their own homes, through a computer or a phone. Paired with short wait times and real-time access to information at the click of a button, these on-demand services help to significantly enhance access to care and drive positive outcomes.
- 24/7 Digital Support: When employees have questions about their health, they may not always know where to start. Instead of waiting and worrying, employees can reach out to on-demand health coaches who can provide helpful information and help make decisions about what to do next. This benefit eliminates the hassle of finding an in-network provider, scheduling an in-person appointment, or missing work, especially if the question or issue can be resolved virtually.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)s: EAPs provide a range of services and resources to address personal concerns that can interfere with people’s overall wellbeing and work performance. They’re one of several ways that organizations can help their populations continue working, while maintaining productivity.
Companies that invest in the right programs show measurable results for their people. Leadership must recognize the benefits of targeted digital health investments that promote overall wellbeing. Shifting focus towards a holistic initiative that can catch problems before they arise is the only way employers will be able to get the most out of their benefits programs and have a meaningful impact on population health for years to come.