Well-being Platforms: Key Insights from February 2022 Benchmarking Discussion Call

Along with our members, we explored the landscape of well-being platforms as a tool for enhancing employee well-being experiences and gained insights from employers on how to use them.

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March 10, 2022

During a benchmarking call held on February 28, 2022, Business Group employer members discussed well-being platforms, covering employers’ experiences with various platforms (including global capabilities) and future plans for enhancing their platforms to better meet the needs of employees and their dependents.

These Key Insights recap the platform/vendors being used, the successes and challenges employers are encountering and upcoming goals for well-being platforms.

A Speed Share: Platform/Vendors Used and Duration of Usage, Geographical Coverage and Overall Goals

Fifty-nine percent of employers on the call have a well-being platform in place, and the 12% without a platform are actively looking to develop one. Most companies with platforms highlighted that their services were primarily offered in the U.S. while stating that they had a goal to expand coverage globally. Employers also shared that they use their well-being platforms to track well-being incentives, programs and challenges and help meet the well-being goals of their employees.

  • Vendors used: Call participants use the following platforms: Virgin Pulse, Propel, Limeade, Global Fit, Castlight, Vitality, Anthem, Sharecare and WebMD.
  • Duration: Companies have been working with their current vendors for varying amounts of time. Some have had relationships with their vendors for more than 5 years, while others changed their vendor in the last 3 years or so.
  • Global capabilities: A few companies are looking to create a platform experience for their global workforce but need to ensure that the coverage is available in those countries and the resources are culturally appropriate. For instance, one company would like to extend their services outside the U.S. for a global audience, especially because their platform offers materials in multiple languages. To achieve this goal, this company is in the process of creating a global well-being strategy, which will include plans for a global well-being platform.
  • Goals: Companies cited the following goals for their platform:
    • Expand platform to their global workforce while staying culturally relevant and linguistically compatible;
    • Enhance platform activities to be more engaging for employees;
    • Develop a centralized well-being resources system as a one-stop-shop for employees;
    • Enable employees to engage in key well-being opportunities like incentives, challenges and assessments; and
    • Keep the information and experience “fresh” so employees avoid seeing old or repeated content.

Successes and Challenges with Well-being Platforms and Vendors

Employers then turned to the topic of the metrics they use to determine the platform’s success. Most employers (69%) look to program enrollment as a metric to define success, followed by platform registration (62%), utilization of materials/click rates/unique visitors (51%) and employee feedback via surveys, focus groups and anecdotes (46%).

For most employers, successes were determined by how engaged their employees were and the ability to have accessible and fresh content. Challenges for most companies typically revolved around vendor relationships, with some employers desiring more support from their vendors to ensure that the platform’s content isn’t outdated.

The following successes and challenges show employers’ experiences with meeting their metrics and goals.

Successes

  • One company attributed its success to meeting frequently with the vendor and creating new content and materials that go out to employees every 2 weeks. Many materials are focused on employees and their workplace culture needs.
  • Employee engagement has been decent for one company. The company mentioned two effective strategies: having employees share meals on forums and encouraging them to utilize the platform.
  • A company remained with its vendor for 11 years and finds the platform very flexible, a “one-stop-shop, “and available in most countries with Google translate services to close language barrier gaps.
  • Another company attributed its success to keeping the platform fresh with new content and continued vendor engagement.

Challenges

  • One employer lamented that its vendor does not proactively create content or generate campaign ideas as often as they would like, leaving it up to the company to initiate most communication. As a result, the company’s well-being platform isn’t updated often.
  • Another employer’s platform focuses on physical well-being but lacks content in other areas that impact health, such as financial and social well-being. Like the former example, this employer feels that its vendor doesn’t pitch new ideas, and the burden of keeping the content fresh falls on the HR/well-being team.
  • One company’s fitness platform has low engagement. It is unclear to this employer if this is due to its communication strategy or the platform itself.
  • Another company noticed that personalization is limited to what’s offered at the country site of employees. Additionally, the company does not offer an incentive to spark interest, and the platform navigation can be trying.

Moving Forward: New Content, Personalized Experience and Addressing the Hybrid Workforce

Employers shared their vision for enhancing their vendor partnerships and well-being platforms through a variety of ways. These new ways included creating new content, developing a personalized experience for employees and engaging the hybrid workforce.

  • When it comes to new content, one company is trying to gauge how many emails to send out to their employees so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. This company is also coming up with new ways to curate content to provide updates and allow for easy access to well-being and benefit information.
  • To create a personalized experience, one company incentivizes employees to take the health assessment embedded in the platform, as this helps personalize employees’ content and interest areas in well-being.
  • Another company utilizes its employee resource groups (ERGs) to meet the needs of its employees and engage them on the platform. This company is also looking to work with its platform vendor to refresh the content regularly so that it does not get stale while also providing incentives to encourage increased usage.
  • Two companies said that to meet the needs of a growing hybrid workforce, their platforms have forums that help foster community for both on-site and remote workers. These forums provide opportunities for employees to connect with one another, regardless of location and mode of work.

Conclusion

Many companies are working to expand their platforms to include their global employee workforce. However, the capabilities need to be present before doing so; for example, by creating accessible materials that are a cultural fit across languages and employee backgrounds. In addition, companies, along with their vendors, are thinking of creative ways to maintain consistent employee engagement through varied communication styles, incentives and personalized materials.

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