Success vs. the Status Quo in Benefits Strategy

2 Questions That Can Make the Difference between Success and the Status Quo in Your Benefit Strategy
Implementing health and human capital management programs in corporations of all sizes is a challenge. There is a demand to do more with less and, at the same time, find the most effective suite of tools.

First, there is the need to identify the right program (weight management, diabetes management, resilience, stress, wellness engagement).

Second, we have to look at effective ways to select and deliver a program vehicle that can meet the needs of the end user while meeting the needs of the corporation itself.

What’s the right program? Here’s a handy rubric for selecting which programs to offer. To stretch your resources and make a high impact, it is critical to think about three criteria:

• Prevalence rates
• Cost implications
• Interdependencies

In today’s climate of limited resources, it makes sense to look for a program that can impact a large segment of your population, offers evidence of improving health or productivity costs, and can impact other programs you offer and some of your core business metrics.

When you apply this new model for effective decision-making in health benefits strategy, stress and resilience easily rise to the top of the list. According to health risk assessments, stress has the highest prevalence rate of all health related issues. It directly and indirectly impacts both medical and productivity costs. It is an issue that directly impacts other wellness, disease management, and behavioral health issues. Not to mention: it is difficult to treat a stressed employee for any chronic condition. When people have higher than normal levels of stress, they don’t eat well, they don’t exercise, and they get half as much sleep as their less stressed counterparts. Their healthcare costs are typically 50% more than their non-stressed counterparts.

And why resilience? Resilience can directly impact both health care costs and productivity impairment costs in a big way:

1. Resilience is the most effective strategy for dealing with ubiquitous issues like stress and can radically improve stress outcomes.
2. Resilience can improve employee morale and improve productivity.
3. Resilience can reduce health/medical costs associated with stress, reduce absenteeism, and reduce unwanted turnover of critical personnel.
What types of delivery options are best? This question is best solved by looking at key criteria that employees demand in their health and productivity programs:

• Quality
• Privacy
• Relevance
• Convenience

We live in a highly sophisticated world of on-demand, highly personalized media choices and people are now expecting this in their health and productivity programs. It is no longer acceptable to provide simple generic content to people and expect them to be satisfied. Consumers now associate customized delivery, high relevance to their specific lifestyle, and clinical validity with quality.

In return for their investment of time, employees expect tools that are effective and provide a mechanism to measure success. They also want programming to be delivered on their terms: when they want it and how they want it. If this means 10:00 pm when the kids are in bed, or available on their smartphone during their morning train ride, then that is when the programming needs to be delivered. They insist upon privacy to ensure that their employer is not receiving any personal information unless they provide approval, and they want security to make sure that their information is properly protected from breach.

But let’s add in a few other criteria which are likely important to any employer:

• Scalability
• Cost
• Measurable Outcomes

Employers want to be assured that a high percentage of people will take advantage of the programs offered and, if they do, that the program will scale to many people. Further, they want to be assured that if many people participate, the programs are affordable and that, as part of their investment, the selected vendor can assist with promotion, customer support, outcomes measurement, technical support, and follow up.

For example, offering a resilience training program through a digital coaching platform can address all of the above issues:

1. Resilience training has a high success rate for an issue with extremely high prevalence: stress.
2. Stress is associated with high health and productivity costs. It also relates to other wellness, disease management, and behavioral health issues.
3. Resilience has proven outcomes for positively impacting these issues and has multiple impacts on health and productivity.
4. If the selected program is based on clinical guidelines and is true “digital coaching,” it satisfies the participants’ needs for quality, convenience, privacy, and relevance.
5. And last, resilience training via digital coaching would address the corporation’s needs of scalability, cost effectiveness, and providing measurable outcomes.

Choosing programming in today’s world of tight budgets and management scrutiny is not a simple task and requires multi-dimensional planning and thinking. But let’s face it: it’s the new normal in health and productivity management.
Jan Bruce is CEO of meQuilibrium, the leading provider of resilience training. meQuilibrium is a digital coaching platform that marries clinical guidelines with cloud and mobile technology and media expertise for maximum results. The program has high participation and satisfaction rates among participants and has been proven to improve resilience skills, lower health costs, improve productivity, morale, job satisfaction, and unplanned reduce turnover. It is private, confidential, convenient, scalable, and cost effective, and is offered by an organization committed to customer satisfaction and support.