One of the biggest challenges that HR professionals deal with is an increased need for employee engagement. As companies within the United States and around the globe face a talent shortage, it’s become imperative to engage employees or risk losing them to a competitor.
When Gallup conducted research involving more than 1.4 million employees to determine How Employee Engagement Drives Growth, they identified quantitative benefits of engaged employees, including:
In addition to retention, it’s clear that businesses benefit in many other ways from having an engaged employee population. Reaping these benefits of an engaged employee population remains a top issue for HR professionals.
Health care costs
Chronic conditions are another issue that has become a significant burden for both employees and employers, as these conditions lead to decreased quality of life and increased health care expenses. Unfortunately, these costs are only expected to increase. According to National Health Expenditure data, “National health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.6% per year for 2016 to 2025, and 4.7% per year on a per capita basis.”
HR professionals understand the needs of both the business and employees when it comes to the rising costs of health care benefits. As such, they play an important role in not only negotiating group health insurance benefits, but in also finding innovative ways to address this issue by positively influencing behavior change.
Data-driven recommendations and results
The growing collection and use of “big data” to make business decisions has put HR professionals under pressure to provide recommendations and results based on data analysis. Business leaders want metrics to make decisions and metrics that demonstrate the return on investment.
As the owners of talent management and workforce planning strategies, HR professionals need to have access to reliable workforce intelligence data that informs the program offerings they deliver. Not only will this data inform decisions, but it should be used to demonstrate the return on investment for the programs that HR professionals implement.
Wellness programs help tackle key HR issues
An increasingly complex business environment, as well as increased competition for HR roles, can create the expectation that HR professionals need to be experts in every function—from benefits to compensation to employee relations to staffing and everything in between. That's unrealistic. Instead, it's important for HR pros to look at the main issues facing the business to identify and leverage programs that help address them.
When considering how to stand out as an HR professional, a successful wellness program is one way to effectively address the issues of engagement, health care costs, and data-driven results.
Here are three recommendations to enable HR pros to stand out with employers and employees alike:
1. Offer a wellness program that enables employees to engage around health.
An online wellness program can create a sense of community and connection that helps employees feel engaged. The cost-effective MeYou Health online wellness platform includes clinically proven programs that help employees quit smoking, eat healthier, and get more activity. Over 77% of people who enroll are still engaged in the products after 365 days, creating a relationship that can boost employee retention – and cement your role as an HR hero.
2. Reduce health care costs by providing clinically proven programs.
Organizations that provide employees with opportunities to focus on health and wellness often see behavior changes that can potentially improve the bottom line when it comes to health care costs. A RAND study found significant “clinically meaningful” improvements in employees’ physical activity, smoking, and weight based on involvement in an employer-sponsored wellness program. Employers also acknowledged the benefits, with more than 60% of respondents reporting that workplace wellness programs “reduced their organizations’ health care costs.”
MeYou Health programs have all undergone rigorous study and are clinically proven to work. HR pros who bring them into the workplace can feel confident that they’ll have a positive effect on employees’ health and the employer’s bottom line.
3. Use data-driven wellness solutions to track and demonstrate results.
For a wellness program to be effective, it’s imperative to have data-driven solutions. A program that’s supported by an online platform makes data collection around wellness results possible.
To make the most of a data-driven wellness solution, HR pros need a dashboard that provides access to real-time information about what’s happening in the employee population, including activity metrics and reports. But finding the right partner to help in this area is critical: what busy HR pros don’t need is to get bogged down by configuration, implementation, and administration of a wellness solution. The MeYou Health platform is totally turn-key – once set up, it runs itself, and the integrated dashboard lets you see how well the program is working in your company.
More and more, HR professionals are seen as strategic advisors with insight that impacts a company’s overall business strategy. Implementing a simple, affordable wellness solution that has the potential to increase employee engagement, reduce health care issues, and deliver data-driven results is one way for HR professionals to gain a competitive edge for the business while also standing out as an HR hero.
About the Author:
Liz Sheffield is a leading writer for HR marketers, publishes the monthly newsletter HR Matters, and is the author of the blog, The People Side of Business. Liz lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and two sons.