The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employee health and wellbeing has been proven by the numerous studies that have been conducted in the past 2 years.
A Shortlister study briefed about the state of Wellness Programs in 2020 – 2021. The survey was conducted with more than 125 top benefits consultants to understand the current corporate wellness trends and other related prospects.
While the previous blog showed the outcomes related to the trending components of the corporate wellness program, the current blog is a continuation of the same Shortlister survey briefing the Corporate Wellness Trends – 2017 – 2020.
Corporate Wellness Trends 2017 – 2020
In the survey, the respondents were asked eight questions to understand the corporate wellness trends that the employers were interested in purchasing and investing in for their workplace wellness. The answers to these questions were to be marked as – “More,” “Less,” or the “Same” – pertaining to what the clients are doing for the specific behaviors.
- Prioritizing Workplace Wellbeing as a Business Strategy
Over the years from 2017 to 2020, the survey respondents said their clients had always prioritized employee wellbeing as a business strategy. A high number of consultants said that wellbeing prioritization had remained almost the same at a reasonable high, and only 3% said the prioritization decreased over the years.
2. Having a Third-Party Vendor to Implement the Employee Wellbeing Programs
Many consultants saw an increase in the implementation of workplace wellness programs through a third-party vendor. Although the growth in the total number of clients implementing third-party workplace wellness programs has tapered, 61% of the respondents said the interest to implement the same has been constant or growing compared to 49% in 2019.
3. Carrier Wellness Program vs. Third-Party Vendor
The choice of the employers to choose carrier wellness programs over the third-party wellness vendors has been decreasing. However, the change has been slowed down since 2019.
4. Implementing a Wellness Program Platform for the Benefits Initiatives
Along with the rising popularity of third-party corporate wellness programs, the choice to implement a well-designed, robust wellness program platform is also on the rise. With 2020 being no different, many clients were looking to implement corporate wellness platforms with just 5% of respondents seeing a decline in the activity. As it has become a norm, the growth has slowed down over the years.
5. Outcomes-based wellness program
For three consecutive years since 2017, the consultants saw a steady decrease in the number of employers implementing outcomes-based corporate wellness programs. Since the outcomes-based programs required employees to achieve certain health and wellbeing goals to earn rewards, it was less preferred than participation-based corporate wellness programs. However, the decline reduced gradually in 2019 from its peak.
6. Prioritizing Point Solutions using Claims Costs
One of the key objectives of the corporate wellness programs is to improve employee health and reduce healthcare claims costs. And so, many consultants report that a high number of employers are using claims costs to prioritize point solutions that improve employee health, especially in areas where the healthcare claims costs are high. As it became a norm soon after its peak in 2017 and 2018, the growth slowed. Only 3% of the respondents observed a decrease in this type of activity with their clients.
7. Corporate Wellness Apps For Employee Engagement
The advancing technology and use of mobile devices have made corporate wellness apps an essential factor of employee wellness programs. Also, corporate wellness apps are effective employee engagement strategies. And so, mobile apps have become a seemingly interesting wellness program feature for clients. At least 60% of consultants have reported an annual increase in the interest to implement suitable corporate wellness app for workplace wellness programs.
8. Implementing Targeted Programs or Point Solutions
Although there has been a growth in the implementation of point solutions for employee wellbeing programs, the increase has been slow compared to what it was a few years ago. One of the key reasons for this slow growth is the shift to comprehensive or “all-in-one” employee wellness solutions that make it convenient for employers and employees to achieve their business and health goals.
Multi-Point Solutions vs. Comprehensive Wellness Solutions
The workplace benefits consultants were asked which was more chosen – different points solutions pieced together or an all-in-one vendor. The survey outcomes of these corporate wellness trends showed that – more employers were opting for comprehensive employee wellness solutions offered from a single vendor instead of choosing various point solutions.
Employers were looking for comprehensive employee wellness solutions that can be accessed from a single application or corporate wellness platform. Although the point solutions were very popular earlier, the increasing convenience and advancements with the all-in-one vendor programs have decreased the popularity of the point solutions over time.
Since the demand for all-in-one wellness solutions was rising, the respondents were asked about the obstacles and issues that the employers faced while implementing multiple-point solutions. According to this corporate wellness trends report, the 6 key obstacles that the clients were facing while implementing point solutions –
1. Communications strategy (Most Impactful)
2. Integration across solutions
3. Employee awareness
4. HR administration burden
5. Complexity of wellness technology
6 Multiple logins for employees (Least Impactful)
The aggregate outcomes of this Shortlister survey can be used by HR teams, employers, and employee benefits consultants to plan the best-suited modules and features for their corporate wellness programs. When the corporate wellness programs are in line with the latest health and wellbeing needs and corporate wellness trends, they can boost employee engagement and bring the anticipated business ROI.