Given that the majority of Americans receive healthcare from their employer, it’s not hard to imagine a world where companies start making greater investments in the health of their people. Many corporations already implement some sort of wellness initiatives, like offering discounts on gyms or wellness activities when used frequently. But the ROIs for these sorts of programs tend to be softer—meaning they may not affect the bottom line, but they do help in fostering a more effective company culture, with happier employees, fewer sick days, lower attrition and stronger team dynamics.
But what if companies took these programs one step further? Could an investment in their employees’ wellness make a real difference in our overall health spending? By leveraging the right data on an employee’s health and activity, we think companies could create engaging incentives for people to stay healthy and practice proactive wellness.
We imagine a program designed to advance the investment-to-reward equation by encouraging employees to participate in lifestyle-focused wellness programs with greater accountability but higher payoff. In short, the data from your wearable or health tracker could be linked to paycheck incentives. These incentives could range from free benefits, cash bonuses, HSA and 401k contributions, to earning extra vacation days or wellness-themed retreats. In order for such a program to be successful, companies would have to ensure that their employees’ personal health data is fully protected, and that any employees who choose not to participate are not penalized. Firewalls between the plan administrators and employers would also need to be built and constantly reinforced to keep health performance private and separate from any job performance-related discussions.
While early examples like the Greater Dayton Regional Transportation Authority’s wearable and incentives-driven wellness program are promising, it’s again the details of implementation that will matter most. Whether this level of corporate awareness and influence can be established without the employee feeling a line has been crossed will depend wholly on the way it is executed.
To find out more about the trends we see shifting the tide “From Reactive Healthcare to Proactive Wellness,” download the full report.