The Excellence Canada “Thought Leaders’ Round Table” (TLRT) met in November 2018 to discuss how wearable technology, smartphones, and employee rewards software are converging with organizational wellness programs to yield best practices, cost-effectiveness, and tangible improvement for employees, organizations, and society as a whole.
With these emerging trends in mind, this Thought Leaders’ Round Table session explored what makes an integrated health
Overview of Current Health Costs
In Canada, government healthcare spending is increasing at an alarming rate, with an estimated $242 billion in total health expenditures in 2017, an annual increase of almost four percent. Direct and indirect costs related to five key modifiable chronic disease risk factors make up the bulk of this economic burden, and it is not just provincial governments being forced to carrying it:
- physical inactivity
- excess weight
- use of alcohol
- low vegetable & fruit consumption
Employers experience both financial and intangible costs through reduced employee productivity, absenteeism, workplace disability
Multiple Generations in the Workforce
In Canada, today’s typical workforce spans at least four generations, which presents an interesting challenge for employers when managing their needs:
- Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 and onward
- Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 – 1995
- Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976
- Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964
Each group has its own distinct beliefs, attitudes, and
The Changing Role of Technology
The proliferation of personal communications and interactive technology in recent years has transformed the way health and wellness programs have the potential to operate. Every generation responds differently to technology, education, communication, and wellness strategies – their needs are different. Technology offers an incredible opportunity to deliver “tailored-for-you” programs, easily and
Questions and Group Discussion
The first question focused on what companies could do if they were armed with data demonstrating that their workplace wellness program resulted in a reduction of overall healthcare economic burden, including workplace savings. Common response themes were:
- A case could be made to secure more funding to further develop programs for continuous improvement based on individual employee needs.
- More strategic benefits such as promoting
societalimpact of employee wellness programs through public relations efforts
- Demonstration of good corporate citizenship and employer-of-choice status
- Opportunities for collaboration with unions as well as employee associations and local communities
- Some organizations have been prohibited from using incentives in their wellness programs. Demonstrating that significant improvements in health and the healthcare system costs may help to secure approval to use incentive programs that have been proven to work.
- Reliable success metrics would encourage a shift from expensive correction to affordable prevention.
- Anonymous aggregate data evidence would support a general increase in digital strategies across the health care industry.
The second question discussed was surrounding the specific challenges of implementing a wellness program for multiple generations.
The first insight was to question whether generational differences should be singled out as a challenge or are just part of a greater need to accommodate workforce diversity of all kinds.
It was believed that fostering an organizational culture that embraces wellness could be achieved
Other challenges experienced included:
- Serving a dispersed workforce including working from home
- Creating a safe environment of privacy and trust
- Inspiring people to care about themselves
- Securing leadership commitment
All challenges could be better resolved with the existence of proof demonstrating the effectiveness and payback of wellness programs, playing up the need for reliable measurable outcomes and the recognition and promotion of role-model organizations that are leading the way.
The third question examined what other elements could be added to a workplace wellness program that
Finally, teams discussed how they have chosen, or would go about
Examples included referrals, Lunch’n’Learns, pilot projects, and simple face-to-face meetings with suppliers, which were all common methods when vetting programs. Industry case studies and testimonials were useful to show employee wellness as a staff retention strategy and employer-of-choice status, as well as evidence of improved productivity and engagement. These were some common benefits the teams thought would help to secure buy-in for wellness programs at their organization.
- Organizations have a key role to play in promoting
societalimpact of employee wellness programs through public relations efforts and contributing to the reduction of Canada’s economic burden of healthcare.
- Generational needs and personality traits impact the adoption of wellness programs and to be successful, program offerings need to be flexible and tailored to meet the diverse needs of the workforce.
- Workplace wellness trends seen today will continue to grow, i.e., allowing more flexibility in the workplace, creating a safe environment, investing in technology and customization, inspiring self-care and involving employees in the development of solutions. Employers must strive to be at the leading edge to be employers of choice.
- Tap into the collective wisdom of the workforce to get creative solutions. Think “out of the box” for innovative ideas, e.g., no limits on vacation times.
- The value of face-to-face meetings and involvement continues to stand strong for fully engaging employees of all generations.
- Does the world need another app?
- 5 Best Practices for Health and Wellness Program Data Security
- Healthy Economics: Why Improving Workplace Wellness Helps Canadians and the Economy
A tool to help you determine the cost of doing nothing vs. doing something from a direct and indirect health cost impact. This tool was created using Dr. Hans Kreuger’s peer-reviewed publications on the cost burden of 5 lifestyle risk factors – the impact that a small percentage reduction can have on the health costs in Canada and to employers.
- Wellness in the Workplace: Supporting Multiple Generational Needs
- Fostering a Healthy Workplace: Framework and Criteria for a Strategic Approach
About BestLifeRewarded Innovations (BLRI)
Science-based wellness programs improve the wellbeing of your people, which makes your business stronger. It’s simple logic: when your people are well, they help your business thrive. What we do works. Most wellness offerings are light on substance, but BLRI builds real engagement through science-based wellness with built-in assessment models and robust measurement. We’re wellness experts who believe in science-based programming that engages with emotion. That’s why we provide individuals with their own personalized path to wellness that takes their motivators into account, not just their health profile.
BLRI is a turnkey wellness solution that makes implementation easy. It’s highly customizable and fits seamlessly within existing programs. Most important of all, it’s a wellness resource that employees actually use and love. Want to drive your businesses forward? BLRI does just that. It’s the proven gold standard in wellness programming.
About Excellence Canada
Excellence Canada is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that is committed to advancing organizational excellence across Canada. Since 1992, Excellence Canada has helped thousands of organizations become cultures of continuous quality improvement and world-class role models, through its Excellence, Innovation
As a national authority on Quality, Healthy Workplace®, and Mental Health at Work™, Excellence Canada provides excellence frameworks, standards, and independent verification and certification to organizations of all sizes and in all sectors. It is also the custodian and adjudicator of the Canada Awards for Excellence program, of which the Patron is Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.Q., C.D., Governor General of Canada.
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