Millions of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, but business leaders understand that the spotlight on employee health won’t dim with vaccination. The pandemic has brought a heightened awareness not only to employees’ physical health, but also their mental, social, and financial well-being. Whether workers return to an office, settle into permanently remote work, or adjust to workspaces and schedules that have been reimagined, they will continue to crave wellness guidance.
Drawing from extensive surveys and expert interviews, Rally put together a trio of tools for employers looking to optimize employee engagement now:
They’re packed with insights and actionable tips (and well worth a read!). But for the time-pressed, we’ve rounded up a highlights reel of key takeaways:
1. Get delayed care back on track
Nearly half of Americans skipped or postponed medical care during the pandemic, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But putting off screenings and appointments can mean more health conditions go undiagnosed — until they’ve spiraled into larger and potentially more lethal problems. For instance, recent research suggests that every month delay in cancer treatment can raise the risk of early death by around 10 percent. Use our e-book to craft a wellness communications strategy that encourages employees to stay on top of their preventive and managed care needs.
2. Prioritize mental health
COVID-19 has stretched many people to their breaking point. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can play a critical role by offering mental health services and stress management at no expense to workers and reasonable costs to employers. Other cost-effective emotional and mental health tools such as teletherapy, meditation apps, and online yoga classes allow organizations to further help employees manage stress — which, in turn, increases the likelihood they’ll remain consistent with other healthy habits.
3. Make it personal
Employers who have already taken steps to build out their wellness program and boost utilization should consider the holy grail of engagement: offering personalized choices and rewards. By analyzing responses from an individual employee’s health surveys, data from their health care claims, and demographic and geographical information, organizations can best understand their workers’ health journeys — and more successfully optimize their programming and incentives.
4. Take a holistic view
There was a time (not so long ago) when employees’ understanding of preventive care was limited to an annual checkup. But today, employees have a nascent sense of how everything from work stress to sleep disruption to financial anxiety can impact their well-being. To truly impact health and wellness, companies must reorient from the limited baselines of simple disease prevention and take a more holistic view. Employees today aren’t focused solely on longevity — they want to thrive.
5. Talk from the top
Consistent communications that promote wellness program benefits and encourage participation can do wonders to increase engagement. But emails from a generic HR address risk going unread. To ensure that employees pay attention, consider sending an endorsement from the c-suite, along with follow-ups from leadership that stress the importance of regular preventive care. Better yet, have your CEO walk the walk by, say, documenting her own vaccination or encouraging team members to join her in a step challenge.
6. Promote telehealth and digital tools
Last year, telehealth took off, as lockdown prompted providers to rapidly expand their telehealth offerings and regulatory changes improved reimbursement for online care. But even as the pandemic fades, telehealth is here to stay. Many employees see it as simply another convenient, effective digital tool they’ve come to rely on. Other digital tools that can meaningfully move the needle on employee engagement: virtual fitness offerings, streamlined benefits navigation platforms, digital wellness coaching, and online employee groups centered on health and wellness challenges. For employees who are unfamiliar with the digital offerings available to them, a simple getting-started guide can make a world of difference.