The correlation between employee health and wellbeing and corporate productivity is long established. Surprising, therefore, is the lack of hard data to help employers plan for employee health needs in the era of ‘on demand’, apps, and preventative health.


Surely this knowledge would be beneficial for professionals responsible for supporting the wellbeing - and loyalty - of employees over time both in terms of developing health and well-being programs that meet the needs of their employees and building an informed understanding of where time and budgets need to be focused.


With an increasingly global workforce, it is important to understand global trends while being able to localize to the unique circumstances and challenges in a specific country.


So, last year we commissioned one of the most comprehensive global health studies ever conducted to better understand the needs, expectations and trepidations of the workforce and employers.


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Employers looking to improve talent retention and build a workplace culture of engagement and well-being should consider digital health investments or risk being left behind
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The unique scale, geographical scope and construction of the study, Health on Demand, has revealed practical and often surprising insight which will empower companies to make more informed health decisions for the coming decade.


It includes survey findings from full, part-time and freelance employees across sector, age, gender and income. Enabling the tailoring of solutions cross-border, it includes data from 13 separate countries, seven from mature and six from growth markets.


Uniquely, Health on Demand also probes critical gaps in understanding, by comparing employee findings with those of 1,300 senior C-suite decision-makers. One thing is clear from both workers and employers – digital health solutions are welcome additions to health and well-being initiatives and they are here to stay.


The report identifies six key findings for employers to consider:


  1. There is a strong case for digital health


    Smart phone penetration and the normalization of on-demand services means that digital health and well-being solutions will play a growing role in retaining and motivating staff. 40% of workers stated they are less likely to change jobs if their employer promotes or sponsors digital health solutions.


  2. Workers value ‘patient-centered’ solutions


    Offerings that facilitate the delivery of personalized healthcare are the most valued. Asked to rank 15 digital health offerings, workers opted repeatedly for those with a clear role in facilitating personalized healthcare, such as apps that help locate doctors, or wearable tech that gives them access to their personal health data.


  3. There are low barriers to adoption, and high trust in employers


    Reassuringly, the study reveals high levels of trust in employers’ current healthcare practices, with workers happy to share health data in exchange for more personalized care. Excitingly, this opens the door for employers - and their advisers - to innovate in patient-centered benefits packages to differentiate themselves – and retain the best.


  4. There are four different worker segments to engage


    Analysis of the respondents revealed four key worker segments with differing attitudes to digital health. Importantly, this again reinforces the need for choice and personalization, to ensure digital solutions are appropriately targeted to the right groups of employees. You’ll find details of the four groups – and the behaviors that define them – in the full report.


  5. There is a high demand for pro-health cultures


    Both C-Suite and employees spoke with one voice on the need for a more favorable environment for health in the workplace. This has implications for both benefits and wider standard corporate thinking. Employers must consider incorporating the preventative and condition-related, physical, mental, social and financial attributes of health into their corporate culture.


  6. Stark differences exist between Growth* and Mature Markets


    When designing solutions, one size certainly does not fit all. More workers in growth markets, for example, are ready for digital health. 81% of respondents from these countries already express greater confidence in digital solutions if sponsored or promoted by their employer, versus 48% in mature markets.


    Of course, this short article can only scratch the surface of the full implications of the report. What excites me most about Health on Demand is how its detail empowers us to create more relevant, modern and personalized solutions through the provision of insight by country, by employment status, by attitude, sector and more. Read the full report here:


* For our study growth countries are middle income economies according to the World Bank: Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia and Mexico with incomes less than $12,615 GNI per capita in dollar Tank Atlas method. Mature countries are high income economies: Canada, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Singapore, UK and US with incomes of more than $12,615 GNI per capita.

Hervé Balzano
Hervé Balzano
President, Health & Benefits, Mercer Global Leader, Mercer Marsh Benefits

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