How companies can pick the best wellness technology to support employees

As companies become more agile post-COVID, employers should look more closely at how wellness technology can support employees in leading healthier lives.

Wellness technology are applications and devices designed to improve employees' physical and mental health. The apps equip staff with the digital tools they need to take control of their own wellbeing.

According to the UK's Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD (opens a new window)), there are seven connected domains of employee wellbeing:

  1. Health

  2. Good work

  3. Personal growth

  4. Values

  5. Social

  6. Good lifestyle choices

  7. Financial Wellbeing

When interviewed by Deloitte (opens a new window), Johnson & Johnson Vice President Nuno Barboza notably said: “We have a tremendous opportunity to improve wellbeing from a tech perspective.” It is clear that an effective and robust employee wellbeing strategy taps into these domains, but how can you utilise technology as a means of providing a well-rounded employee wellbeing offering?

What should you ask?

There is an abundance of wellness technology providers offering similar products with seemingly similar technology. If you don’t know how to differentiate between them, you will likely end up with a bad investment. So here we pose four key technical questions you can employ as part of your vendor due diligence process:

Is there an app for that?

When introducing any type of technology, always ask this question and ask it for three reasons:

  • The Data: Data obtained from wellness technology apps are huge opportunities for employees to review their health and wellbeing and for organisations to access anonymous aggregated insights. But this isn’t without potential obstacles. A global study (opens a new window) found nine out of ten health apps collect and track user data, however 28% did not provide any privacy statement explaining how they gather, use, disclose and manage their users’ data. So, ensure the wellness technology provider has a robust privacy policy in place.

  • Accessibility: According to Statista (opens a new window), 81% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. Therefore, leveraging a provider that also has an app, makes the wellness technology more accessible to your employees as they can access its content whenever and wherever they want. Furthermore, your employees are more likely to repeatedly interact with content at their fingertips, so an app is a great tool to encourage continued use.

  • Personalisation: The data acquired from an app allows it to provide personalised content tailored to your employees’ interests, needs and location and this is key to making the most out of this mobile technology. Presenting content that is highly personable and thus relevant boosts engagement and ensures they repeatedly return to leverage the app’s content and continue their wellbeing journey.

Research2Guidance (opens a new window) published that more than 350,000 apps are available on the market. So, ensure you consider data, accessibility, and personalisation to help your decision making.

Can you trust that your data is safe and secure?

In September 2021, the Fitness app database GetHealth, which holds data on fitness app users, was subject to a data breach (opens a new window) and over 61 million records were accessed illegally. As you can see, selecting a provider with robust protocols and security in place is vital as well as a provider that highlights they’re doing all they can to protect their users’ data. There are also certain features you can look out for to help ensure your data remains safe and secure:

  • Single-sign-on (SSO): This enables users to securely authenticate and login to multiple platforms and websites by using one set of credentials.

  • Two-factor-authentication (2FA): This requires additional details on top of the username and password in order to login. For example, a one-time passcode sent to a mobile.

  • Password requirements: This can include preventing weak passwords like “Password1,” having a minimum password length or including special characters.

What support is available?

A provider that offers a good onboarding experience and long-term support goes a long way in making sure your employees make the most out of the wellness technology platform. Particularly onboarding as your employees are still deciding if they want to use the wellness technology platform you’ve brought in. Key things to look for in a robust technology onboarding program include:

  • Having dedicated support and simple routes for contacting them.

  • Training material readily available before and during onboarding which anticipates and resolves potential issues and queries and is easily accessible.

  • A well thought out communications plan to promote the service and boost participation. Once your employees are onboarded, its important the support doesn’t stop there. Ensure the provider offers you and your employees clear and easy methods for obtaining help and support. Also make sure you continue to review the utilisation statistics to repeatedly promote the service and maintain its shelf life.

How does this tech actually benefit your employees?

It can be all well and good bringing in the latest wellness technology for your employees, however if it does not benefit them in some way, ultimately your employees will never use it. When implementing tech of any kind, you have to have a clear vision of the problem you are looking to solve and identify how exactly the technology will overcome that problem. To achieve this, your employees’ needs have to be at the heart of this. So, what should you consider?

  • It has to make their lives easier in some way, for example them being able to search for local pharmacies in a matter of clicks. Having a mantra of “as little clicks as possible to get what I need”, empowers your employees to easily find information and is a crucial component of the wellness technology’s success.

  • The wellness technology must have a positive and seamless experience, meaning it should be intuitive to use and easy to find information.

  • If you have to explain it, it’s usually not good enough. Usability helps your employees find what they need faster and thus repeatedly using the platform again and again. So, if your least techy person can use it, you’re on to a winner.

You’ll have noticed these aren’t hugely technical questions, but they are often forgotten as buyers are lured in by the latest trends and forget basic issues to protect them and their people. Considering accessibility, data, technology, and support alongside your strategic wellbeing objectives, ensures you bring in the best solutions for your business and your employees.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Rofe, SVP and Head of Client Development

T: +44 20 7933 2876

E: Chris.Rofe@lockton.com