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Future of Wellness Series: Utilising Data for Ultimate Wellness Success

Team mates working together on an electronic device.

​Data analytics is now a critical tool for workforce strategy. Wellness programmes are no exception.

As workplace well-being programmes continue to evolve, data will play a central role in shaping programme development, engaging employees, and analysing the overall impact.

By analysing data, organisations can strategically design their wellness programme and deliver tailored interventions that ultimately enhance engagement. This also affords the opportunity to purposefully measure the overall impact of the programme and its ability to enhance the health of the employees and the organisation resulting in making the alterations to drive a continuous improvement plan.

Data to Design Wellness Programmes

Understanding the current health challenges employees are having and what may be contributing to them, can help companies develop more tailored solutions to improve health and well-being markers.

We know that the workplace has been long known as the leading cause of stress and that stress is the highest cause of illnesses so why wouldn’t we look under the hood and tackle the root cause?

For example, we used our bespoke wellness diagnostic in an organisation to understand the areas contributing to unwellness. We found that employees rated a lack of social connection as having the biggest impact on their health and well-being. This enabled us to ensure that the wellness activities centred around bringing people together that were both engaging and experiential to ensure employee’s wellbeing was enhanced rather than diminished.

Surveying employees to understand contributing factors, as well as their needs and goals, can help generate helpful data to guide strategic programme development.

Notice my emphasis on strategy. This refers to, not only being strategic in designing solutions that enhance employee wellness but also capturing data that allows for strategic design in driving organisational priorities such as retention, attraction, or productivity. These should also be key considerations in utilising data for the design of workplace wellness programmes.

Data to Drive Engagement

Aside from programme design, data can play a key role in driving participation. This is one of the biggest pain points for many HR professionals that I speak to.

By utilising data it’s possible to customise targeted interventions that address employee’s needs more effectively. Not only can data provide them with a reflection of their current health, but it can help drive content they're likely to engage in, in favour of their communication preferences.

For example, in one organisation we found that production staff was not participating in the wellness activities in comparison to their non-production staff. The reasons for this were as follows: many of the activities were during production hours, delivered onsite in the office, and not targeted to their health goals. Once staff became involved in the creation of the wellness programme activities and we drove tailored content to them via technology, the organisation saw engagement rise among their employees.

This is commonly known as the IKEA Effect - a cognitive bias in which consumers place an unjustly high value on products they partially created.

Long gone are the days where HR design a wellness programme based on the needs; they think employees want. Moving forward, HR will use data and a co-created approach to design the needs employees are likely to engage in.

Having the data needed to understand employee's unique goals, needs, and communication preferences can ultimately lead to more engaged outreach drive increased and sustainable engagement in the wellbeing programme.

One effective way we have found, of bringing your data to life is using a data-driven web and mobile app platform. This platform uses AI to drive employees to the content they are most likely to engage in based on their unique needs, goals, and preferences.

Data to Analyse Impact

Once a strategic wellness programme has been created and participated in, it is critical to begin analysing the data to assess whether the programme is effective. It's important to note your success markers at the beginning.

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of your wellness programme for both the organisation and the employee?

From an employee perspective is it to increase health markers, reduce chronic illness, improve mental wellbeing, aid physical and psychological safety?

From an organisation perspective, is it to increase employee engagement rates, improve the retention of high-quality talent, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, reduce the cost of illness, or attract more high-quality talent to your organisation?

As they say, what gets measured gets managed. It’s important to note these at the beginning of your strategy development to measure the pre and post.

By leveraging the initial aggregate data as a baseline, it will be possible to see year on year the return on investment (ROI) i.e. reduced health care costs and absenteeism savings against the return on value (ROV) i.e. improve productivity, engagement, and/or retention. Incorporating both ROI and ROV measurements are effective markers to use.

An annual review provides a great opportunity to capture feedback, as well as impact. We also recommend pulse checking throughout the year to ensure the existing plan is having the intended impact.

Using this data can not only help with designing a continuous improvement plan but can also equip HR leaders with the data needed to secure additional budgets for enhanced wellness activities.

Healthy change in an organisation takes years. It is by no means a quick fix and data can certainly support the journey.It’s a marathon, not a sprint and having good data is like having good running shoes. You can still run the race, but you might not put your best foot forward.

If you’re interested in working with Cpl’s Future of Wellness Team, book a complimentary wellness consultation with Elysia Hegarty our Wellness Lead and find out how we can help your organisation.

You can also watch Elysia, Wellness Lead, speak to Sohini De, CEO of Empeal, our wellness technology partner for the Future of Wellness, discuss emerging health and wellness technology and the important role data and analytics will play for the future of wellness here.