According to the inaugural ‘Health on Demand’ survey, the majority (62%) of UK employers plan to invest more in digital health solutions over the next 5 years. Around half of employees (47%) are excited by the prospect of digital health innovation, though the research found considerable differences in how employees perceive the value of and engage with digital health innovations, which suggests personalisation is key to engagement and successful implementation.
The research, conducted by Mercer Marsh Benefits, Mercer and Oliver Wyman, surveyed
16,000 employees and 1300 employers in 13 markets around the world, including over 1000 employees and 100 companies across the UK.
Tony Wood, UK Leader of Mercer Marsh Benefits said: “It’s encouraging to see increasing appetite for digital health solutions amongst employees and employers. ‘Health on demand’ solutions can effectively supplement existing benefits and help secure access to treatment and services, especially important in the UK where the health system is facing funding pressures and potential Brexit turmoil.”
Mr Wood added: “Our survey shows that most UK employees trust new solutions offered by their employers which means organisations have a real opportunity to positively impact their employees’ health. However, businesses must avoid the temptation to simply provide more products and solutions without considering whether they are right for their workforce. We know that an individual’s personality plays an important role in their attitude to and engagement with health, which provides a great opportunity for companies to start personalising their approach to well-being.”
The research found that employees can be divided into four distinct segments (see table 1) based upon their attitudes to health innovations, their confidence in health solutions sponsored by employers, and their likelihood of staying with an employer offering these solutions. In the UK the ‘get me comfortable’ group is the dominant (43%), they are receptive to new health innovations but not confident so would like the employer to take a paternalistic approach. The ‘sign me up’ group (34%) are tech savvy and confident. Both groups are less likely to leave employers who offer digital health solutions, underscoring the importance of health benefits as a retention tool.
“The findings from the ‘Health on Demand’ survey confirm our belief that employers looking to build a workplace culture of well-being and to improve talent retention should consider digital health investments,” said Hervé Balzano, Mercer Marsh Benefits International Leader and Mercer President, Health. “Otherwise they risk being left behind in today’s competitive global labour markets.”
Interest in digital health solutions is part of a broader focus on workplace culture of health. Clearly, UK employers believe in the importance of employee well-being; a full 97% say their organisation will invest more or the same amount in health and well-being initiatives over the next five years. Further, 67% believe that their organisation cares about their employees’ well-being. When employees were asked the same question, however, just 37% said they believe their employer cares about its employees.
Survey results suggest a way to help close this perception gap. According to the ‘Health on Demand’ findings, the wider the range of health and well-being resources an employer offers – from insurance coverages to subsidised nutrition or exercise programs – the more likely employees are to feel supported and energised, and the less likely they are to leave their employer. Of the UK employees who are offered 10 or more such benefits, 62% believe their employer cares about them, compared to just 38% of those offered five or fewer.