Designing a comprehensive workplace well-being program can be complicated. There are many aspects to consider as you make decisions surrounding which tools and resources your program will provide. Today, most employee well-being programs utilize some type of technology for program administration and management. But selecting this technology can be a daunting task.
I make a point of keeping up with current research in the field of workplace well-being. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Tom Ciccotti from Shortlister about fascinating research his company conducted with some of the top benefits consultants in the US. The research identified employer’s preferences and buying behaviors with regard to well-being program technology.
What are the must haves?
Shortlister’s findings revealed the following three “must haves” for buyers of well-being technologies:
- Challenges are a popular method of engaging employees in well-being programs by focusing on achieving short-term health goals. Technology-driven challenges provide administration and tracking, allowing participants to follow their progress as they compete individually or as part of a team. Participants form connections and build relationships while engaging in healthy competition.
- Biometrics provide a method of collecting meaningful data that can be used to assess health risk. When collected consistently over a period of time, biometric data is useful in measuring changes in health status.
- Health Assessments are another method of collecting meaningful data. When collected over a period of time, the impact of the well-being program can be measured based on changes in overall risk or health status.
What’s declining in interest?
I was perplexed to see that health assessments and biometrics are both “must haves” and declining in interest. When I asked Tom for an explanation he responded, “We had to do a little bit of digging and circling back with our consultant partners to understand how they can be both “must haves” and declining in demand. I’ll use this analogy to explain: it’s almost as if the tide is coming in on these programs and is now receding.”
What’s a well-being technology buyer to do?
All too often, I hear well-being program managers say they need a technology solution and they see that as the well-being program. But technology is just one element of your initiative. If you are considering buying a technology solution for your well-being program, the first step is to create a requirements definition. Fully define all the functions you need the program to perform. Match that with the other program elements such as coaching, EAP linkage, communications strategies, and evaluation strategies. Understanding these trends can help inform your decisions and validate your thinking on what’s important for your program.