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Delivering a "Whole-Employee" Approach to Workplace Well-being

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A fundamental shift is occurring in how organizations view their role in the overall “well-being” of their workforce. More and more employers have begun to move away from seeing “wellness” as a benefits “program” implemented just a few times a year or as something that is solely the responsibility of HR toward an organization-wide initiative that is multi-faceted and ongoing.

One of the primary reasons for this shift is that increasingly, more and more employers are becoming aware that wellness and well-being are not the same thing. In very general terms, well-being provides a more holistic approach to the employee/life experience, whereas wellness most commonly focuses on physical and in some cases, mental health. Additionally, health and wellness in many organizations tends to be heavily focused around avoidance programs to keep employees from becoming physically ill and that is where it tends to end. These programs are also usually focused on reducing costs for the employer through achieving some sort of ROI on the programs, utilize a carrot-and-stick approach with employees and are pretty myopic in their scope.

More importantly, employers are beginning to understand that well-being is not necessarily the absence of mental or physical illness and that it incorporates not only mental and physical states, but the emotional and social facets of a workers’ being. Well-being represents a broader construct that includes elements that go beyond physical, mental and even emotional health and include elements of social and even financial health. Additionally, research on the benefits of well-being initiatives in organizations show that they can even increase the well-being of other employees, can result in employees staying in their jobs longer, and can increase the organization’s stock market value.

To do this, however, organizations need to deliver a large array of programs, resources and administer an oftentimes unmanageable number of technologies. Yet, according to a presentation at the National Business Group on Health Conference in D.C. early March 2016, 47% of consumers don't know what health services cost and 75% don't fully understand their benefits. Similarly, a recent survey conducted by Accolade and commissioned by Harris poll, nearly one-third (32%) of insured survey participants reported that they are uncomfortable with their personal knowledge and skills for navigating their medical benefits and the healthcare system. This means that what employers are offering to their employees in the way of benefits and programs is going unused, resulting in wasted investments by employers and perpetuating the existence of unhealthy, stressed-out employees.

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HR Technology Advisors has developed a whole-employee approach to well-being which is delivered via a hand-picked selection of best-in-class technology solutions, resources, content and programs. Managing the “whole employee” means acknowledging that everyone is multi-dimensional and has numerous roles to balance in life—all of which affect job performance. The ultimate goal of this program is to empower the employee to become educated about and own their own well-being and to develop healthy habits through the delivery of services that are personalized to each employee’s unique needs via an engaging and interactive, web-based platform. HR Technology Advisors (HRT) plans to begin rolling out this program to customers later this summer. Brokers will have access to wholesale pricing on a pre-packaged set of vendors that will also include training, marketing, sales and communications materials that can be used for existing clients and prospects. HRT will also produce regular, topical webinars on well-being and other HR programs aimed at optimizing an organization’s workforce and serve as the primary contact for all contracts, billing, administration and implementation for this program.

For more information, please contact, Dr. Michael Moon, VP, Workforce Optimization Programs at mmoon@hrtadvisors.com

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