Employee well-being trends to follow in 2022
"Change is the lifeblood of progress. When I co-founded ekincare, I knew that a "one-size fits all" approach to employee health benefits was archaic and best left in the past. In recent years, we have seen many organisational changes take place in the MarTech and FinTech industries, to name a few. The events of the past 2 years have shown us that the well-being industry needs massive organisational reforms as well. Well-being tech - where data forms the epicentre for assessing, building, strategising and engaging for better health outcomes - is no longer just ‘good to have’ for companies across the world. It is now a ‘must-have’!"
- Kiran Kalakuntla, CEO & Co-Founder, ekincare
As per a recent report by EngageRocket, 2020 was a time of optimism in the face of unforeseen challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in 2021, that initial burst of optimism and enthusiasm dropped significantly, as isolation due to social distancing norms, new strains of the virus, and remote work environments of 2020 continued into their second consecutive year. This caused employees' resilience and mental well-being to drop. 17% fewer employees working in the APAC reported being confident about their company’s future between 2020 and 2021. With prolonged stress, cases of burnout also rose by 9% in 2021, according to EngageRocket's findings.
Employee health and well-being trends to note
Data-driven analytics will help improve HR policies - In 2022, companies will need to invest in data analytics that provides important insights into their team members' health needs. Even though many organisations are moving in the right direction with regard to the implementation of data-driven insights, there is still more that needs to be done. "People analytics" and improved learning platforms will be at the top of the list of HR priorities.
Personalized health benefits will become the norm - With an increased focus on analytics, it is safe to predict that the data gathered about employees' needs will help usher in customized and personalized healthcare programs. These programs will be built to suit individual employees' needs, helping increase efficacy, cost-efficiency and eventually, the overall health and well-being of employees. Such programs will also drive retention of top talent, as well as helping companies become more productive due to reduced sick days and other health issues.
Integration of virtual care with in-person care - Virtual health has an increasingly important role in primary healthcare and in the proper management of chronic health conditions. It is also a viable solution for issues in accessing mental health services. In the coming days, the focus will move toward integrating better quality and appropriate solutions into virtual care.
Expansion of psychological and emotional well-being solutions - The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light long-standing issues related to psychological and emotional wellness, such as low access, high stigma, issues with quality and low resources. While the pandemic sped up progress in lowering the stigma surrounding mental health, it also brought in insights on extended periods of anxiety and stress, the impact of social isolation on mental well-being, and burnout.
Many companies have started providing access to mental health services and emotional well-being solutions via online resources and virtual therapy, which have helped bridge the gaps in access to these services for many employees. Along with this, companies and healthcare professionals are now more focused on the quality and effectiveness of these resources than ever before. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are also on the rise, with more employees making use of such programs to gain control of the challenges they face in their professional and private lives.
Focus areas for HR managers in 2022
Need for a mindset shift from traditional to data-driven approaches - While past experience, traditional methods, and a general intuition have played an important part in company-wide policies, it is now time for a change. With data analytics, HR professionals will be able to make informed decisions with greater confidence.
Helping HR teams learn more about analytics and strategy - According to a report by KPMG, 60% of CEOs and other leaders see HR as an administrator for team members, but 74% of CHROs do not agree with this viewpoint. Training HR managers in data analytics and implementation can help bridge this gap.
Implementing a culture of active and consistent "listening" - Greater transparency of communication and creating a company-wide culture of consistent and active listening is the path forward to reaping the benefits from the firm's investment in analytics.
The best way to move forward in the new year is to work with healthcare partners who are well-versed in data analytics, personalized health benefits and designing employee well-being programs that cater to the evolving needs of employees. If the past 2 years have taught the global community anything, it is that nothing can be taken for granted. Hence, this post was an attempt at helping readers stay prepared for the future of employee well-being and health, and to look at a few trends that will be the key factors in ensuring a healthy and productive workforce across industries in the coming days.
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