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A Personal Touch Is Critical for Successful Wellness Programs

Brett Christie | WorldatWork

As organizations become more invested in engagement, employee health and well-being programs are a point of emphasis. To maximize this form of engagement, organizations are increasing communication through technology.

However, as organizations add more health and wellness benefits, it leads to more platforms and the message becomes less concise and more confusing for employees, according to a new survey by Health Advocate.

The “Driving Benefits Engagement: Strategies to Optimize Employee Health and Well-Being Programs” survey found that the biggest challenge for 44% of organizations that work with multiple partners or vendors for benefits is that the experience is disjointed and confusing for employees. And 40% said there is a lack of utilization as a result, as well as technological issues in integrating systems (35%).

A significant reason for the lack of utilization is employee fatigue stemming from multiple logins and multiple notifications from these separate vendors. Where organizations can improve this issue is through consolidation.

“One of the approaches for those different challenges is having all those different benefits on one platform, so that all the messages are coming from one place,” said Marcia Otto, Vice President of Product at Health Advocate. “It’s really tying together data in so many different ways to personalize messages to target members, so they will participate and be aware of the benefits that they have.”

The survey, which included responses from more than 300 HR and benefits managers, found that 60% of respondents said that a single platform “presents each employee with a single point of contact that is personalized, intuitive and interactive.” To further drive home the need for consolidation, 46% said it improves employee engagement with benefits.

Aside from consolidation of benefits data, a critical element to having an effective wellness program is the human touch. The survey of HR and benefits managers found that 82% said having some level of high-touch support increases employee engagement with their benefits. And a majority (78%) offer employees access to live support to help with health goals and benefits navigation.

“What this survey and many other surveys have shown is not only having all the benefits in one place to have a unified message, but to have the high-touch component of being able to call somebody with your questions,” Otto said. “One phone number and one person to help you navigate all the different benefits that you have to help steer you in the right direction ­— that’s one of the biggest points of the survey. In this world that’s moving toward everything being digitally touched, we want to point out that there’s a human touch, that shows that not everybody wants to do everything on their phone and they want a live person to talk to.”

Having both of these elements — an easy-to-navigate digital system as well as live personal support from an expert — is the ideal combination to a successful benefits program that will drive engagement, the survey concluded.