You’ve known for a long time that the health and well-being of the people working in your organization is important. Not only are these the people you care about and work with every day, their health and well-being are factors that contribute to the bottom line and the long-term competitive outlook of your organization. According to Gallup, among teams who scored in the top 20% in employee engagement, employees are 81% less likely to leave your company, 41% less likely to miss work because of poor health, and 36% more likely to fully recover after hardship. Most of us faced hardship this past year.
The events and circumstances of 2020 have brought the importance of overall health and well-being into sharper relief. Even so, the struggle to take the right actions to improve the health and well-being of your employees can seem daunting. You might wonder, “Where do we start?” “Do our current initiatives align to best practices?” “How do we take our current approach to the next level?”
First Person Advisors has always worked hard to provide answers to these essential questions relative to employee health and well-being, and organizational performance. It was no coincidence that amid the upheaval of 2020 we entered a relationship with the HERO organization. HERO stands for Health Enhancement Research Organization. We joined HERO in June of 2020 as both a Think Tank Member and Preferred Provider.
HERO is a member-driven industry group, focused on promoting the learning, research and sharing that will help its members “provide practical solutions for employers who share (our) commitment to supporting health and well-being for employees, families and communities.”
If ever there was a right time for us to join in this effort, this is it. I think the organization can lift the entire field of benefits and organizational development and will provide direct impact on our client’s business and the lives of your employees. Whatever the long-term fallout of our broader societal challenges, HERO can be a beacon of positivity and imagination as we all seek to bounce back in our workplace communities. From my perspective, the sharing and best practices uncovered by HERO offers direction supported by evidence-based research that highlights the strength and essential nature of this work.
What is HERO all about?
HERO and the HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard is something I want all our clients with self-funded health plans to be aware of and participate in, at least on some level. Why “all?” Because that is where the power lies – in the collective impact. Particularly with the HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard. When organizations large and small, across the country and internationally, become part of this growing dataset, we uncover best practices in promoting health and well-being of the workforce and organizations everywhere can benefit. Participate, and you get an instant assessment of how your program stacks up to others in the national Scorecard database, including organizations that closely align with you in terms of size, geography and other demographic factors.
HERO Think Tank
As a Think Tank member, First Person contributes to setting national policies and growing corporate accountability and adoption of best practices for health and well-being in the workplace. We will be at the center of the process that enhances sophistication and credibility of the industry. The end benefit to our clients will be enriched qualitative and quantitative data upon which they can act and drive success.
HERO Preferred Provider
As a Preferred Provider, we have access to emerging new research and best practices. This includes benchmarking with HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard data. Also, First Person participates in quarterly data sharing and Scorecard consulting strategy sessions with HERO researchers. This data is invaluable when we’re looking for both anecdotal and hard data to guide our clients to better health and well-being strategies.
Leveraging the Scorecard
Published research shows that organizations using more HERO Scorecard practices have higher employee engagement in their health, better health and healthcare cost trends, and higher employee perceptions about their employer. And – higher HERO Scorecard scores are linked to superior financial performance among publicly traded corporations.
The HERO Scorecard data is user-friendly. From hundreds of participating organizations, it comes easy-to-understand and apply best practices to drive successful workplace health and well-being. Here are four keys from the 2020 report:
1) Organizational Leadership
Driving success are leaders who show organizational commitment to the health and well-being of their employees, engage employees at all levels of the organization, develop a strategic plan and reporting for multiple stakeholders, and target communications to diverse groups. Through a recent study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, it was found that organizational and leadership support practices are among the strongest and most consistent predictors of an organization’s ability to: drive participation in employee well-being initiatives, influence employee perceptions about their employers, positively influence employee health outcomes, and drive down healthcare costs.
An organization’s willingness to offer financial incentives for specific activities and allowing spouses/partners to earn specific incentives is another driver of success. Scorecard data reveals that nearly 75% of respondents use some type of reward for participation in programs. And of that 75%, almost 60% of employees earn at least a portion of the incentive offered.
3) Comprehensive Programs
Organizations who could offer individualized, population-based programs in multiple channels, including lifestyle and disease management programs show success. When programs include robust features (e.g., social connections) and provide health tracking tools, they are shown as more likely to succeed. As you evolve your programs and move into digital strategies, Pew Research Center shows that 81% of Americans have a smartphone and are more connected than ever. Digital solutions are a trend now and into the future and can have a considerable impact on one of the most preventable healthcare expenses, unmanaged chronic conditions.
4) Program Integration
The strategic and coordinated plan is the best. The report’s last key finding is that programs, communications, data and strategy that were integrated with other employee benefits had the most success in adoption and impact upon health and well-being measures and influence on the business. HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard data show: 39% of employers enable employees to engage with workplace wellness programs via smartphones or mobile devices; 46% of employers use trackers or wearables such as pedometers, glucometers or automated scales; 44% of employers use some sort of social media or social challenge to increase engagement or participation; and 57% of employers have implemented tobacco-free workplace policies. The overlap of health and well-being into safety programs and, conversely, safety programs into health and well-being strategy, is significant in the best programs.
Get Started: HERO Best Practices
In 2021 and beyond, I am hoping all our self-funded clientele, do this:
Participate in the Survey
Talk to your First Person team about participating in the survey. Our team can combine health analytics with the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard to bring qualitative and quantitative data to life and drive a customized health and well-being strategy for your organization. We’ll provide benchmarking from a robust and well-rounded data set. When you participate, you also contribute to that data set to assist with future research.
Engage in Learning
HERO has an annual conference to learn emerging best practices and trends. As employee health and well-being becomes acknowledged as an accepted and integral part of workplace culture and organizational success, it can be your competitive advantage.
Health and well-being programs have historically been the last item on the agenda, last on the budget list and last to implement. It’s no wonder, as most businesses have so many other priorities to tackle, especially in the face of the pandemic, such as productivity, attracting and retaining talent and managing operating costs. Savvy employers are positioning their health and well-being program as a solution to their fundamental business challenges. They’re looking at offering programs to give employees what they want and value to tackle retention issues. They’re using population health strategies to mitigate health risks, costs and boost presenteeism – all drivers of productivity that increase your organization’s bottom line.
If you’d like to take a deeper dive into HERO well-being best practices, healthcare analytics, and evidence-based digital health solutions, email me or send me a note on LinkedIn. You can also drop us a line or tweet at us.