Employees want to take control of their well-being with mobile access to services
Published by: LifeWorks,
Although traditional Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are effective they only provide support for a small proportion of the workforce that is close to, or at, crisis point. New research has revealed that employees would welcome the opportunity to access well-being support tools in their own time and take proactive control over their wellness at their own pace.
In 2017, a study of 16,000 people by LifeWorks parent Morneau Shepell found that of organizations that implemented EAP services, 22% of respondents reported an increase in ‘life satisfaction’.
But Morneau Shepell also notes that its traditional EAP, which focuses on delivering support via counselling, only reaches around 10% of a workforce at any one time. Although this figure is double the industry average, it means that the majority of the employee base is struggling with well-being challenges of varying severity but not receiving support.
A new study, carried out by LifeWorks across 750 workers in the UK, US and Canada in 2018, found that the majority of those surveyed would prefer mobile-first access to their company sponsored well-being support services in order to be proactive about their wellness on their own terms.
Less than 5% of those surveyed currently accessed their employee well-being services through a smartphone app and less than half accessed it through a web-based service. Yet over 75% of expressed a desire to access these services from any place at any time.
According to the study, around 65% of all respondents had accessibility issues with their current employee well-being services, including lack of accessibility, lack of understanding of how to access the services and lack of understanding about what services were available to them.
The survey findings are a response to the common misconception that the older generation is not ready for new or consumer grade technology. Jamie True, Chief Digital Officer at LifeWorks, said: “The older generation uses Amazon, Google and email, and is getting personalization from all of these platforms. Employees are used to getting a user experience which is slick and intuitive, whereas traditional HR platforms are structured. Times are changing and employers need to realize that employees expect a congruent user experience because that is what they are used to. The beauty of it is anyone who has a smartphone can access these new forms of communication easily.”
While online guides, video and audio are now commonplace in benefits communication strategies, more advanced forms of technology are still up and coming in the employee benefits world. But a sea change appears to be taking place. According to Aon’s Benefits and Trends survey, published in January 2018, 42% of business respondents said they are looking to invest further in communications this year, with technology being a key area they were considering.
According to the survey findings from LifeWorks, the top three reasons for employees using well-being services were: 56% to improve physical wellness, 52% to establish a better work-life balance, and 37% to address mental health conditions.
The top three employee well-being services that have been most effective at improving the quality of the person’s life are: Short and long form educational content focused on wellness; health risk assessments and health coaching; and mental health counselling.