It should come as no surprise that wellness has been top of mind for employees these past few years given the impact of the pandemic. And employers are paying close attention.
A recent survey found that 44% of companies increased their wellness programs in 2021 as a way to take care of their employees, while also attracting and retaining talent.
Despite this expanded investment, you may still be running into challenges. We’ll address some of the most common ones you might be facing, and offer ideas on how to solve them.
If you’re experiencing any of these obstacles when it comes to employee wellness, you’re not alone.
Every employee has different healthcare needs. Some may have chronic conditions, while others may be more interested in preventive care. With so much variety, it might feel daunting to try to fulfill the needs of your entire workforce.
It’s not easy to address the exact concerns of every single employee at your organization. But there are tools that can help.
We recommend introducing tools that can help personalize the employee healthcare experience. This typically takes the form of AI-driven solutions.
Healthee, for instance, offers employees access to a Personal Health Assistant named Zoe. With Healthee, you can easily provide personalized guidance to your employees—whether that’s understanding which services they’re covered for, which doctor to see, or how to save money on care.
In practice, this means that if an employee tells Zoe about the back pain they’re experiencing, she won’t give them generic recommendations that they could easily find on Google. Instead, she’ll give them personalized options to choose from based on their coverage and profile—whether that’s receiving massage therapy in their area, seeing an in-network chiropractor, or making an appointment with a top-rated orthopedist. She even provides estimated costs and a provider quality score, so your employees get the best-value care.
Wellness isn’t just about getting weekly massages or going to yoga class. True wellness starts with people meeting their basic healthcare needs—from going to annual checkups to getting regular screenings.
However, you may find it difficult to promote workplace wellness when people don’t understand their health insurance. This is more pervasive of a problem that you might assume; 73% of workers don’t possess a solid understanding of their healthcare benefits. As a result, 59% of employees delay or avoid treatment because they’re not sure if they’re covered by their insurance.
So how can you help your people overcome the barriers to understanding health insurance?
Start with education. Use a variety of channels—emails, text messages, printed flyers—to educate your employees about the ins and outs of their health insurance.
What’s the difference between an HDHP and a PPO plan? How can they find out what’s covered? Who is responsible for paying the premium and deductible? These are questions your employees will likely have from day one.
We recognize that this is a lot of work for you and your team. That’s why it may also be helpful to invest in a tool like Healthee, which can give your employees the guidance and education they need—whether that’s answering questions about their health plan and deductibles, helping them book an appointment, providing information about copays and out of pocket expenses, or simply giving them the occasional nudge in the right direction.
As we’ve covered it’s a lot of work managing your employee’s existing healthcare benefits. One report found that HR professionals spend an average of nine hours per week fielding questions about benefits! Your HR could be spending over a day’s worth of work per week navigating healthcare.
As a result, your team may simply not have the time or resources to give employees the individualized attention they deserve. We recently found in our own research that the time HR teams do spend on healthcare benefits leaves them feeling challenged, frustrated, or bored, adding even more stress to their already demanding job.
Trying to meet your employees’ corporate wellness needs, while also managing your own workload and burnout is no easy task.
Automation is key to solving this problem. Studies show that streamlining key processes can save HR teams a ton of time. In fact, HR managers who don’t fully automate say they lose an average of 14 hours a week manually completing tasks that could be automated.
That’s where a solution like Healthee can help. Healthee is available 24/7 to handle all of employees’ most pressing healthcare questions from start to finish. Healthee also provides complete Open Enrollment support, which takes work off your plate while helping employees feel confident they’re choosing the right plan for their needs.
Automating processes like everyday benefits questions and Open Enrollment gives you and your team time back so you can focus on more pressing priorities like employee experience, hiring, and retention rates—without sacrificing the upsides of investing in the health of your employees.
Health and wellness benefits are susceptible to low utilization rates for a variety of reasons.
As we mentioned before, some employees may be overwhelmed by the complexity of their health insurance while others may be hesitant to utilize their benefits out of fear of being judged or facing stigma from their manager. Many may simply forget about the services they have access to.
Regardless of the reason, low utilization is problematic because it means your employees aren’t taking advantage of the resources they need to take care of themselves.
First, identify the cause of low benefits utilization. Distributing an anonymous survey or having one-on-one conversations with employees who are comfortable sharing feedback could be a good starting point.
Once you have a sense of what the problems might be, look for tools that can directly address them. Regardless of what your obstacles are, Healthee can help overcome them.
For example, if your employees are overwhelmed by the healthcare experience, Healthee will guide them every step of the way—from the moment they ask a question, to finding an in-network provider and booking an appointment. If they forget about their offerings, Zoe will send them personalized, proactive health recommendations as opportunities for engagement. If people are hesitant to tell their HR manager about their mental health issues or plans to get pregnant, they can rest easy knowing that every interaction with Zoe is 100% confidential and HIPAA compliant.
As an HR leader, you want to make sure you’re providing your employees with the best. But it can feel like there’s always more that you can, and should, do—especially with new healthcare benefits and workplace wellness programs entering the market on a daily basis. We totally understand how overwhelming this can feel.
Our advice? Focus on what you can do for your employees today, rather than trying to tackle everything at once. As more budget and opportunities open up down the line, you can gradually increase your investment in employee wellness.
Also, try to go for the low-hanging fruit. For instance, rather than investing thousands of dollars more to offer a better health plan, boost utilization by investing in Healthee. We’ll actually help people use their healthcare offerings, saving your company money in the long run.
Employee wellness has never been more important. But an increased focus and investment in this area can also raise new challenges that you’re facing for the first time. It’s important to know that you’re not alone, and other HR leaders are experiencing the exact same obstacles as you are.
With Healthee, you can create a more seamless, affordable, and personalized wellness experience for your employees—without adding more work to the team’s plate. Schedule a call to learn more about how we can support you.