It Takes Two: Humans and Technology Shape the Future of Health at Work

It Takes Two: Humans and Technology Shape the Future of Health at Work | Mercer 2018

Our Thinking / Career /

It Takes Two: Humans and Technology Shape the Future of Health at Work
Calendar11 July 2018

Imagine this.

At the start of his day Mike speaks to his smart phone and his virtual assistant pops up a personalized screen dedicated to his health and wellbeing.  There is a congratulatory message telling him he’s earned a reward voucher for his favorite cycling store for hitting his body composition target. The power of this system is that it integrates work needs with personal health requirements. It shows the morning’s schedule of meetings, and suggests a slot for a lunchtime group run that fits with his day.

There is a to-do list already organized based on Mike’s priorities and deadlines, but also an analysis of last night’s sleep pattern, some suggestions for how to improve his sleep, and a flag that Mike needs to rehydrate if he is to maintain peak cognitive function.

To create this pleasant morning ritual, Mike’s employer uses AI to connect and analyze data generated by his preferences, behaviors and biometric data. The new technology encourages Mike to bring his whole self to work and, by doing so, strengthens the connection to his employer. In the end, everyone benefits. 

The scene described above provides a glimpse of the future of work, one where employers use digital technology, big data and AI to enhance employees’ entire well-being and strengthen that employer- employee relationship. Technology drives engagement, which then improves productivity and company culture.

Employees want careers that complement their personal lives, not vice versa. This is seen with greater demand for role-flexing, which brings benefits to the employee and the employer. 51% of employees want more flexible working options1 that allow for extended time off, for gym breaks, caregiving and avoiding rush-hour commutes (or commuting altogether).

With this ability to balance, more headspace can be used for innovative ideas rather than worrying about who is picking up the children from school. Indeed, one in two employees wants a greater emphasis on well-being in the workplace(1).  Technology is crucial in facilitating that desire.

Technology not only enables employers to provide choice, flexibility and on-demand benefits in a practical sense, but also enhances the overall employee experience by being relevant to the audience of one. Employees now expect the technology experience they receive outside work to reflect the technology they are given access to inside work. Organizations who are slow to adopt will find they are actively disengaging their workforce.

Since 61% of employees choose health as their top concern(2), it is important to pay attention to this concern. Providing solutions that span the range of true well-being, from meditation apps, virtual doctor visits, biometric-led fitness coaching, and other tools enhances company values, culture and productivity. 

That’s why Mercer acquired Thomsons Online Benefits in 2016 with its leading technology, Darwin. Darwin helps employees connect their benefits with their wider lives by giving them access to personalize their benefits offering. It provides employers with a single source of truth for benefits data, enabling a complete picture of your scheme at a country, regional, or worldwide level and the ability to make better decisions about how to invest your benefits spend for optimum Return on investment.For employers, offering customized solutions using technology helps personalize benefits for employees, resulting in higher impact and engagement.

Companies that are using a technology-enabled approach are having the greatest success. Those with the technology to measure the impact of their benefits program are 80% more likely to respond to the employee need for well-being(3).

We have only begun to scratch the surface on understanding how technology can be applied to advance well-being. Companies that invest in technology have a competitive advantage because their healthy, happy employees can thrive(4). By placing the diverse needs of their employee at the core of their efforts, employers can drive engagement and productivity to unimagined heights. 

Notes:

1.Mercer Global Talent Trends 2018 Study

2.Mercer Global Talent Trends 2017 Study

3.Thomsons Online Benefits GEBW  2017/2018 Study

4.Mercer Thriving in an Age of Disruption 2017 Study