Experts suggest that 2021 is going to carry a shadow of 2020. With the new quarter starting soon with a new year, employers are looking to plan their budget and workplace policies to be prepared for any unexpected events and support employee health and wellbeing.
The COVID-19 pandemic had disconnected people from the social world, impacting employee engagement and wellbeing. And so, with 2021 around the corner, employers are looking into various prospects to strategize employee benefits and wellness dollars to boost employee engagement, productivity, and holistic wellness.
Based on several studies and anticipations, experts have come up with the 4 latest budget trends to help employees, employers, health plans, and other corporate wellness systems to work into their 2021 budgets and make smarter investments.
Aligning Different Communication Modes
Communication is the key to employee engagement. The pandemic has made it harder than ever for healthcare executives and health plans to communicate and engage with employees. Despite being a time when connecting with people has become difficult, communicating to connect and engage is a top priority for health systems. Studies show that using 4 or more communication channels increases employee engagement by almost 300%. In addition to regular communication modes, many health systems are commonly using IVR automated voice and text messages as prominent formats to engage in their daily lives
Prioritizing Employee Mental Health
There is enough evidence to prove the impact of the pandemic on employee mental and wellness. Employers have now added mental wellness programs to their employee wellbeing programs to improve digital resilience and overall mental wellness. A report from the Business Group on Health shows that 90% of employers are planning on offering digital mental health resources to employees in 2021. For employers who have already added the resilience training programs to their employee wellbeing initiatives, there was a 70% completion rate and month-by-month increase in the demand for mental health programming.
Relying More on SDOH Insights
Before COVID-19, personal or family history was the most common clinical determinants of potential health risks. However, the pandemic has changed the way of looking into health risk elements. Health systems and companies are now tapping into SDOH insights to determine employee health risks. SDOH, short for Social Determinants of Health, are the environmental and demographical factors that affect the outcomes and risks of health and wellbeing, regular functioning, and the overall quality-of-life. Incorporating SDOH insights into consumer data can help health plans and other systems identify potential employee health risks. The predictive analytics can then allow employers to plan their healthcare budget, and engage their target audience with suitable health and wellbeing resources.
Bridging the Deferred Care Gaps
Owing to the COVID-19 social distancing and safety norms, many people had put off their long-term health care. However, delayed care could affect employee health and wellbeing, along with their productivity and business growth. To ensure no delay in medical care, employees must be motivated to book their appointments, take the annual flu shot and other required vaccines, get their annual screenings, and restart their chronic healthcare management. With the predictive analytics and SDOH insight data, employees with deferred care gaps and the ones with potentially high-risk possibility must be reassured to take suitable wellbeing actions. Employers can add rewards and incentives to nudge and boost employees to bridge these gaps.
As much as the world wants the New Year 2021 to seem normal like it was before 2020, it is a hard wish to ask. 2020 has taught everyone to be prepared for the unexpected and to prioritize employee health and wellbeing. More importantly, it is vital to stay on par with the latest corporate wellness trends, digital technology modules, and other modern global drifts to ensure a smooth sail through unexpected rough waters.