Corporate wellness programs are a nearly $8 billion industry in the U.S. and are expected to grow 7.8 percent through 2021. With this growth, there are four wellness trends employers should keep an eye on. These trends will further integrate wellness into employees’ daily lives.
Large health insurance companies are funding digital health startups and within five years, data-driven incentives will be customized by employees’ locations and personal preferences. With the use of software platforms and wearables such as FitBit, employees will automatically be informed about incentives when using certain features. For example: walk 15,000 steps a day and reduce your health insurance premium. Alternatively, employee engagement platforms will integrate wellness incentives with other employee engagement activities so workers can earn points that can be redeemed for prizes. This will provide employers with an increased amount of data to make insightful business decisions regarding wellness programs.
Basic financial education has become an offering in many employer-based wellness programs. Instead of traditional webinars and lectures about how to save for retirement or college, this benefit will transform into more tailored financial offerings. The stress of financial health can reduce an employee’s effectiveness in the workplace, increase absenteeism, and lead to poor health habits or illness. Employers will offer assistance with debt reduction, individualized financial planning for retirement, and planning for potential health care costs in retirement – all with the goal of creating a sustainable financial future for employees.
With an aging population, more employees are sandwiched between caring for their children and caring for their elderly parents. There can be a tremendous amount of mental stress and financial impact on those employees who need to take care of family. Many employers, especially larger companies, will start to offer more help with child and elder care. Compassionate corporate policies that reinforce the need for vacation are essential for wellness. More companies will enforce time off from work, leading to a healthier employee base, while others will introduce vacation savings accounts to help employees plan for a vacation. Addressing immediate stressors and encouraging employees to seek ways to decompress will be priorities for worksite wellness programs.
Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. If your wellness program has too many offerings, employees won’t take the time to learn about all of them and will lose interest. Employers can use data to customize programs to employees' needs and interests, thereby creating programs that are engaging and effective. Data can also be used to recommend options to employees who exhibit signs of needing them, ultimately increasing adoption and helping employees get the help they need.