March 25, 2019 –
By 2020, millennials will be 50% of the US workforce. They’re a generation spoiled by the luxury of information at their fingertips, and with the expectation of instant results and on-demand accommodations.
How they define health is different than the generation that directly preceded them. Health used to be defined as not being sick and making sure to regularly check in with your primary care provider. Today, millennials consider eating healthily and exercising regularly to be the most important components of wellbeing — while not getting sick and having regular healthcare appointments are seen as less important.
This is an important factor to keep in mind when designing your company’s health benefits program. People want to know they can go to the urgent care without making an appointment. They rely on their FitBit for their health data more than a primary care doctor, and often don’t even know their primary care doctor’s name, if they have one. Make sure you’re providing employees with resources that are relevant to them — how to visit urgent care and where to look for answers on your insurance provider’s website. Some companies are going the extra mile and creating telemedicine conference rooms, where employees can visit a doctor virtually on a laptop and get a quick diagnosis or prescription refill.
ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH
Depression is more prevalent today than ever before, with a 171% rise in diagnoses since 2010. 19% of millennials have been diagnosed with depression, 12% with anxiety. Does your insurance provider offer virtual therapy? How are you helping employees find the help they need? Start by creating mental health policies that truly help the growing number of people who need to feel that support. Recognize the difference between a mental health day and a sick day, and encourage employees to take them. Make sure you are aware of the effect your wellness policies have on creating workplace cultural norms.
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
What are you trying to accomplish with your wellness benefits and policies? Kaleana Markley, Wellbeing Director of Sequoia Consulting Group, says “Our goal is to help our clients create and executive strategic and meaningful wellbeing initiatives as part of a holistic benefits package. Through these programs, we hope to better the physical, emotional, and financial health of employees and those they care about.” In a recent benchmarking survey, Markley found that beyond physical health, employers are now focusing on the whole wellbeing of their employees — with 30% planning to focus on Emotional Wellbeing initiatives over the next 12 months, and growing focus on the financial health and family benefits .
Before getting ahead of yourself and jumping into lofty or unrealistic policies and benefits for your startup, take a step back. We all read in admiration when the press reported that Netflix is now providing unlimited parental leave. Perhaps your knee-jerk reaction was to immediately wonder how to implement the same policy and how to compete? It’s an important first step to define your company’s wellness goals. They might not be the same as Netflix. A better first step might be starting smaller, for example- do you have a mother’s room? If one of the goals of your company’s family wellness benefits is to provide resources and support for new parents, and in turn build employer loyalty and productivity — are there other benefits you can create first before jumping to the latest and greatest benefit? First make sure your office has a Mother’s Room (otherwise known as a Lactation Room). Before rolling out an unlimited parental leave policy, think about how you’re supporting existing moms (and dads) in the office.
To make wellness program goals more clear and more tailored for your company, try giving employees a wellness survey to take the guesswork out of knowing what is truly important to them — i.e. physical wellbeing, spiritual, emotional – what types of resources do they want or need? Hear their feedback before diving face first into a benefits program that may not be the best choice for your company and workforce.