How PMI can unlock employee health and wellbeing engagement
With declining rates of health continuing to cause poor productivity, engaging and supporting employees health and wellbeing has never been more important. PMI cover that provides employees with a proven behaviour change programme linked to healthcare benefits can be the key to unlocking engagement and driving positive lifestyle changes, writes Pippa Andrews, Director of Corporate Business for Vitality.
As our CEO Neville Koopowitz explored in a recent article, Ill-health linked to our lifestyle is one of the biggest challenges facing the workplace and wider society today. Despite a greater focus on employee health and wellbeing, as well as an explosion of wellbeing solutions, UK workers are still getting less healthy.
According to the most recent Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, 25% of employees are obese, 10% risk anxiety and depression, and 20% are suffering burnout. A leading cause of this is lifestyle, given that 38% are inactive, 52% eat an unhealthy diet, 25% exceed alcohol guidelines and 9% smoke.
This has in part contributed to record numbers of people out of work due to ill health1 and poor health is now recognised as being one of the factors impacting productivity.
Employers face a number of challenges
Against this backdrop, employers in the UK are faced with a number of challenges when it comes to employee health and wellbeing.
On the one hand, effectively encouraging people to change habits and make healthy lifestyle choices is not easy. And, without meaningful employee engagement, changing behaviour for the better in the workplace can be difficult.
Additionally, even though almost half of the preventable global health burden is lifestyle related2, organisational health schemes have traditionally tended to focus more on managing ill-health, but not enough on keeping people healthy and happy upstream.
Changing behaviour to create healthier habits
Even though the wellness sector is forecasted to reach $7trn worldwide by 20253 and there are more products promising to deliver employee health benefits than ever before, without the right levels of engagement they can be ineffective.
Behavioural economists tell us that, as humans, we are highly irrational in hugely predictable ways.
Therefore, by harnessing behavioural economics through workplace health and wellbeing schemes, organisations can be much more effective in helping employees make healthier lifestyle choices.
By influencing behaviour for the better in this way, we can unlock more productivity and generate significant benefits for all parties involved, including employers.
Driving employee engagement
In order to unlock meaningful behaviour change, benefits offered by a workplace wellbeing programme have to be appealing and accessible to a diverse workforce, regardless of age and location.
They also need to be communicated effectively and easily accessible through a coherent structure. This is particularly important with the rise of hybrid and remote working.
More broadly, this needs to be sustained through meaningful engagement, which can be hugely challenging for organisations when looking after its people.
PMI that delivers powerful incentives and compelling rewards
With growing number of businesses offering health insurance for their staff, and a greater expectation from employees that their employer will offer such benefits, Business Health Insurance that delivers a health and wellbeing scheme alongside access to private healthcare, can be the key to unlocking employee engagement.
At Vitality, we do this using the Vitality Programme, the world’s largest behavioural change programme linked to insurance (some benefits of which are also available to an uninsured workforce).
It is designed to provide a compelling set of incentivised tools and rewards accessed by employees through a series of intuitive digital journeys, housed within the Vitality Member App
Engagement with the Vitality Programme is sustained through daily touchpoints, such as tracking activity, achieving points targets and redeeming rewards such as handcrafted drinks from Caffé Nero, ODEON and Vue cinema tickets and cashback on healthy food from Waitrose & Partners.
What’s more, on average just 4.9% of employees engage with wellbeing apps. By comparison, more 50% of employees engage with Vitality within 30 days of their plan starting. On average, employees under a VitalityHealth scheme show 10 times more engagement comparted to other health and wellbeing interventions4.
Proven to work
Through this engagement, we see Vitality members benefit from almost one year of additional life expectancy, even in their first year5. Those who track higher levels of physical activity, on average, also incur up to 46% lower healthcare costs6.
All this helps to prove that by using the right nudges, at the right time, employee behaviour change can be achieved on a large scale.
As well as keeping staff happy and healthy, this can unlock productivity and help to retain and attract staff within businesses of all shapes and sizes - at a time when this is needed most.
Where to next?
How behavioural economics is being use to support employee wellbeing
A structured behaviour change programme can be used to incentivise positive lifestyle choices in a way that prevents serious illness. Find out how.
Why isn't the UK getting healthier?
In light of technological innovation and the health challenges we face in the UK, the insurance sector has an important role to play.
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1 Record numbers not working due to ill health - BBC News
2 The Global Burden of Disease Study and Preventable Burden of NCD, Pub Med, 2016
3 Global Wellness Institute, 2022
4 Comparison of Vitality engagement data and Britain's Healthiest Workplace data, 2022
5 Based on the changes they make in the first year via the Vitality Programme
6 Vitality Health Claims & Insights Report 2022