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3 employee healthcare trends to be mindful of in 2019


With an increase in the number of diseases burdening individuals worldwide, the need for people to be more actively involved in their health and wellbeing is growing more urgent. In fact, a recent whitepaper by Aetna International, titled 'Bespoke health promotions: How personalisation is transforming health', believes the future of healthcare lies in the worldwide adoption of a more predictive, preventative, personalised and participatory approach to health, whereby individuals are more actively involved in their own health and wellbeing. 

And with the workplace being where people spend five out of seven days on average, HR leaders play an important role in partnering with their employees to ensure they take care of themselves amid the stress they face at work.

In line with this, we take a look at three employee healthcare trends HR leaders should be aware of for the year ahead, to better plan for a healthy workplace. Appended to these trends are actionable ideas compiled by the Human Resources team on leveraging healthcare trends.

#1 Influence and support is key in motivating employees

According to the whitepaper, the influence of support from peers plays both a positive and negative role in the long-term health prospects of individuals - in fact, research in the US has found a lack of social support causes 162,000 deaths, almost as many as lung cancer. Whereas the presence of constructive support helps people make better lifestyle decisions.

Our tip: Thus, HR leaders should consider not just encouraging employees to take charge of their health, but to provide an avenue for them to do so. For instance:

  • Incorporate a weekly or monthly wellness programme where employees take part in simple sports activities in groups. This way, employees are able to destress while supporting one another in keeping active
  • Provide employees with medical and/or gym membership discounts
  • Organise quarterly health screenings at the workplace [Read more]

#2 Insurance and assurance for mobile employees

With an increasingly mobile workforce, employees' safety and wellbeing become even more important factors. The paper highlights that while leaving their home environment can encourage employees to break free from their poor health habits, it can also affect them with a lack of familiarity and support.

Further, major health issues and "rare catastrophes" become more of a concern for expats and mobile employees, over day-to-day decisions that promote good health. A survey by Aetna revealed that 81% of respondents said people should take more responsibility for their own health and well-being; however, 61% would take action based on their own doctor's advice, and 58% would do so based on medical test results.

Our tip: In such cases, in order to encourage mobile employees to take that step towards caring for their own health away from home, HR leaders should include benefits such as insurance policies and basic health benefits in their mobility packages. For example, access to the local gym as they settle into their first few months overseas. [Read more]

#3 Technology continues to benefit health and wellbeing

As technology advances, it will continue to be a disruptive and driving force in and out of the workplace. According to the whitepaper, technology can play an important role when an individual is motivated to take action for their health.

In fact, technology is fundamental to the future of healthcare - it provides more convenient, sophisticated access to care while also acting as a tool that supports healthy behaviour by pushing individuals to make healthier choices.

Our tip: HR leaders can consider taking this force to their advantage by incorporating it into employees' health benefits packages, or wellness programmes. For example, encourage friendly competitions between employees or teams through tracking of health and wellness goals - for instance, the employees/teams who clock in the highest number of steps a day win.

Through these trends, the report highlights that at the end of the day, the more personalised the experience in matching the individual's needs, the more organisations are able to increase engagement through cognitive methods such as rewards and goals. [Read more]

Photo / 123RF

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