It’s alarming that a recent Gallup poll determined that 51% of the US workforce is disengaged. If half the country feels disconnected from their work, it means more than 63 million Americans who work full time are spending most of their days feeling unsatisfied. Digital HR tools can help ameliorate the problem.

Having unhappy employees is troublesome in itself, but it gets much worse when you consider the detrimental effects of employee dissatisfaction on individual wellness, company culture, and the bottom line. According to The Engagement Institute, disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion every year. In addition to being less productive, they’re also more likely to quit.

One of the most effective ways to improve employee engagement is to offer better benefits. In fact, research conducted by Willis Towers Watson found 75% of employees said they were more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefit program. This demonstrates the value of designing an employee benefits package that really works for your staff.

The power of digital tools

As you’re likely aware, there are many HR apps and employee wellness software programs available to help organizations increase engagement. They vary in functionality, device compatibility, and of course price, but they all share five considerable advantages:

1. Highly adaptable — Unlike programs that rely on in-person use, or resources that are primarily stored in binders, digital content can be updated on the fly. This flexibility makes it very easy to keep the information current and relevant, and it even opens the door to personalized benefits. For instance, if each employee has their own login, they can bookmark the resources they find most useful and receive suggestions based on those picks. Seventy-two percent of employees in a MetLife survey say being able to customize their benefits would increase their loyalty to their current employer, which makes this perk doubly advantageous.
2. Fully integrative — One major complaint employees have is that their health information is so disjointed. Dental, physical, psychological, and nutritional data is siloed, creating a cumbersome situation for employees when it comes to accessing and updating their records. Digital tools neatly solve this problem by collecting all these resources in one place. All employees have to do is sign into one account to view all their health-related resources, benefits, emergency phone numbers, enrolment information, health savings account balance, etc.
3. Constantly accessible — Have you noticed your staff using fewer and fewer benefits over time? It’s easy to assume they’ve lost interest, but chances are they’ve simply forgotten what’s available to them. Digital tools are a fantastic way of combating that attrition for a couple of reasons. First, they’re super easy to access because they can be used essentially anytime, anywhere. Second, your staff is more likely to continue using their benefits with a digital platform because it can serve them with notifications and reminders.
4. Encouragingly goal-oriented — Digital tools can be excellent motivators and are a popular option for keeping employees focused on their wellness objectives. Two of the most common goals are weight loss and smoking cessation, but your employees can use calendar, reminders, notes, fitness trackers, and other features to push them toward any goal they like.
5. Easily scalable — Digital tools are the most efficient way of reaching a large employee base, especially if they’re spread over a large geographical distance. It’s impossible to expect a thousand employees located in different states to attend a stress management seminar, for example, but it’s not unreasonable to ask them to watch a five minute video or listen to a podcast. Digital resources are changing the game when it comes to reaching all employees equally so that no one gets left behind.

Now that you’ve been convinced to digitize your employee wellness program, there are a couple of assurances you should make. The first is confidentiality. Your employees need to feel safe accessing your health resources, so guaranteeing the security and privacy of their information is a must. You should also make accommodations for various accessibility concerns. Having all your resources in video format isn’t helpful for employees who are visually impaired. Also be aware of the different situations in which your staff might need access (ex: at home, on the go, with or without an internet connection, etc) to ensure maximum ease of use.

As cool and cutting-edge as many of these digital tools are, at the end of the day your goal is to promote employee well-being and engagement. Anything that encourages your staff to come into work with a smile on their faces is worthwhile.

Gallup studies have shown highly engaged organizations are 21% more profitable, 17% more productive, and achieve a 41% reduction in absenteeism. No matter how effective your current benefits package is, you can — and should — take it to the next level with a digital program.

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Anna Mittag

Anna Mittag

Anna Mittag (LL.B., BCL) is VP of Operations of LifeSpeak, a digital wellbeing platform.