Executive Summary

In the ever-evolving landscape of employee benefits, wellness solutions have emerged as a pivotal focus point for employers with a long-term view of health and productivity. Recognizing the vital link between a healthy workforce and organizational success, employers are redefining wellness programs to meet the diverse needs of their employees.

Employee wellness programs have undergone a remarkable transformation since the start of the pandemic. Once limited to in-person fitness challenges and generic health screenings, these programs have evolved into holistic initiatives that prioritize the everyday wellbeing of employees (both inside and outside of work). Employers are now taking a proactive approach, aiming to not only prevent health issues but also enhance employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. In a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 60% of job seekers reported that benefits and perks are a significant factor in considering job offers. A robust wellness program signals an employer’s commitment to employee well-being, making the company an attractive destination for skilled professionals seeking an organization that values their health and work-life balance.

What is the impact on healthcare spending?

Investing in employee wellness is no longer a discretionary choice; it’s a strategic imperative. The cost of poor employee health is significant, leading to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher healthcare expenditures. According to Harvard researchers, every dollar spent on employee wellness yields a reduction in healthcare costs of $3.27 and a decrease of $2.73 in costs related to absenteeism1. A similar ROI study conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans determined that employers save between $1 and $3 on healthcare costs for every dollar spent on wellness initiatives.

These cost savings are from both direct and indirect triggers, and it’s important to also include more qualitative factors like retention and productivity when you look at the cost/reward analysis.

Point Solutions Overview

Employee wellness is an important yet broad and nuanced space. Over the last decade, we have seen a significant increase in point solutions dedicated to well-being outcomes, some of which include:

  • Fitness Coaching, Apps and Trackers: Applications designed to support the physical health of employees.
    • Wearable devices connected to apps that track steps, calories burned, and other indicators have grown in popularity.Team Challenges via apps, such as walking/biking challenges, are great tools to encourage healthy habits amongst dispersed workforces. Incentives can be used to boost participation.
    • Digital fitness classes provide a library of specialized activities and workouts individuals can take advantage of to meet health goals.
  • Nutrition/Weight Loss tools: Platforms that promote healthy eating and physical wellbeing practices. 
    • Dietary apps can provide an array of healthy recipes and record eating/snacking habits.
    • Weight management platforms offer a range of tools including nutrition plans, weight trackers and virtual support.
  • Personalized Apps: Tailored resources that provide personalized goal tracking, and virtual coaching.
    • Smoking cessation tools and programs can help people track, reduce, and quit tobacco/nicotine consumption.
    • Alcohol misuse programs allow individuals to access workshops, webinars, and other tools to reduce drinking.
  • Mental Health Support Platforms: Offerings that focus on stress reduction, mindfulness, meditation, and access to mental health care.
    • Sleep/meditation apps are being used to lessen stress, reduce anxiety and drive productivity.
    • Digital therapy platforms are great for reaching out-of-state and international workers.
  • Financial Wellness: Programs that provide tools for managing financial stress, planning for retirement, and addressing debt.

What should I do as an employer interested in wellness point solutions?

For committed employers, point solutions should be just one component of an overarching wellbeing strategy that takes into account the following:

  1. Assessing Current Health Trends: Analyze health data to identify prevalent health issues and trends within the employee population.
  2. Designing Tailored Solutions: Use this data to inform decisions around point solutions. It is rare the overcommitting to point solutions will produce the desired results; we recommend a more pointed approach. Craft an approach that addresses specific needs, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
  3. Benchmarking and Surveys: Compare your offerings to industry standards and continually assess its effectiveness through employee feedback and measurable outcomes.
  4. Incorporating Cutting-Edge Technology: This is where point solutions come in; leverage technology and tools to provide engaging and accessible wellness resources, from wearable devices to wellness apps.
  5. Promote Inclusivity: Ensure that wellness solutions cater to a diverse workforce, taking into account geographic, cultural, and accessibility considerations.

The journey towards a healthier and more productive workforce begins with employers’ commitment to holistic wellness solutions. As employee needs evolve, so too must wellness programs. By embracing innovative models, tailoring benefits to specific needs, and fostering a culture of well-being, employers can embark on a transformative journey that not only enriches the lives of their employees but also contributes to the overall success of the organization. Wellness point solutions, if tackled thoughtfully, can be a tool in your toolbox to arrive at a healthier, happier, and more vibrant workforce.

1 https://www.bravowell.com/resources/do-wellness-programs-save-companies-money