According to a recent study from Aon Hewitt, Millennials will make up roughly 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. As a result, this generation is poised to change the culture of work in America. And a big part of that corporate culture shift will be an increased demand for the integration of health and wellness into the office.
According to a newly-released survey from health and engagement platform Keas, Millennials are becoming increasingly more engaged in their own health and wellbeing. The survey found:
- 46%of Millennials want as much quantifiable data about their health as possible ;
- 54% of Millennials will likely buy a body-analyzing device (weight, body fat, blood pressure, etc.);
- 31% believe that genetics/DNA tests are valuable in better understanding of their health.
When it comes to their expectations about blending work and life, Millennials want their employers involved: 64% indicated cash or some tangible benefit would most motivate them to participate in a corporate health program, and 33% said that providing money-based incentives would be the single most valuable action in helping them reach their health goals for 2014.
To meet this rapidly-increasing demand for blending health and wellness into the work experience, employers must proactively engage with their Millennial workers in ways that resonate with them. One way to do this is to provide health and wellness data in a way that is fun, social and has meaningful incentives attached. After all, a healthy workforce is a major benefit to employers as well.
“Health isn’t just about policy. Meaningful health is about ensuring everyone has tools they can use to improve their life on a daily basis,” says Josh Stevens, CEO of Keas. “Based on conversations that I’ve had with employers across the nation, most companies offer outdated models of health and wellness programs and struggle to track, report and aggregate resulting data in a meaningful way.”
Stevens says employers need to step up to meet the needs of the growing culture of incorporating health and wellness in the office, and offers the following steps:
Increase Awareness. As a society, we are becoming more aware of how our choices impact our health and wellness, but we still have a long way to go. The idea behind platforms such as Keas is to help employers provide employees the opportunity to learn about the impact of the choices they make and the types of alternatives out there for making positive change in their physical, mental, and social habits.
Provide Tools/Support. Stevens encourages employers to provide employees access to quantifiable self-improvement data in order to help them achieve tangible and lasting results. He says things like quizzes, health challenges, weekly goal setting and healthy breaks can be tailored to address high-risk issues such as BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and, pre-diabetes. The idea is to find ways to provide personalized content specific to each employee’s health needs that is actionable.
Incentives. As noted earlier, most Millennials want to be rewarded for their contributions to their company’s bottom line, and they know that the healthier you are the more likely you will be able to contribute at a higher level. Stevens points out that providing incentives for making healthy choices is a win-win for both employers and employees. Simple rewards such as public recognition, reduced health premiums, extra vacation days, cash bonuses and gym memberships can go a long way in incentivizing health at work.
Stevens encourages companies to empower their employees to achieve quantifiable self-improvement by elevating their health improvement efforts beyond taking a one-time action such as a fun run or health event. Health is an ongoing process that requires education, tools and support to make healthy habits become a part of everyday life. The best way to achieve this is through a fun, social and supportive environment that encourages health while building camaraderie in the workplace.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. Dr. Woody is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership. Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook.