Eighty-four percent of respondents to a survey of 144 benefits brokers by Shortlister, a marketplace for finding and selecting vendors in the wellness, HR technology and benefits space, say employers are moving more to total well-being programs rather than just physical well-being programs.
Seventy-nine percent say they are adding more niche point solutions—such as diabetes management, mental well-being and financial wellness. Broadening the focus of traditional, physically focused wellness programs to become more holistic (adding financial, social & mental well-being) is leading more employers to ask about a platform/hub to combine all of their benefits initiatives, 63% of brokers say.
A recent HealthAdvocate survey found employers that use multiple providers for health and well-being benefits cited several challenges. At the top of the list at 44% was “disjointed, confusing for employees.” Next, at 43%, was fragmentation of vendor/partner/internally developed tools, with several numbers to call.
The Shortlister survey found 73% of brokers say employers are desiring more mobile-first or native mobile application programs for their employees, and 65% say more employers are prioritizing wellness/well-being as a business objective.
Forty-six percent of respondents indicated that about the same number of employers as in the past are implementing a wellness program via a third-party vendor. However, the more holistic focus, along with a changing legal landscape, has led to a shift away from outcomes-based wellness programs (47%), and a desire for a broader scope of services and more sophisticated offerings has accelerated the shift away from carrier-based wellness offerings (48%).
What employers are really striving for, according to the survey report, is meaningful “engagement” from their employees. While there’s still no universally accepted definition of engagement or how to measure it, employers are actively seeking solutions that improve the probability that their members will access the right resources at the right time.
The top three well-being program features growing in demand from employers are financial wellness (cited by 73%) of respondents, mental well-being (50%) and on-site clinics (25%).Among benefits brokers surveyed, 43% see value in financial wellness programs, but say vendors and programs need to improve. More than one-third (35%) say they are important and will continue to grow in popularity. However, 12% see little value thus far, and 4% can’t justify the budget.