Relying Solely on Your Insurance Company for Your Employees’ Wellbeing Could Negatively Impact Your Corporate Culture

Press 1 for premium payment information, 2 for a claim update, 3 for…….ah……the dreaded ro-bo answer of a call center, or the perky text of “I’m here to help you” of an online chat bot.  If you have a generic, standard question, let’s say to check the status of a payment, it’s incredibly efficient to have a machine reply.  With a simple account query, your information is quickly provided.  But your experience is very different, and often times frustrating, if you have a more involved question.   You get the privilege of wading through a number of questions, none of which lead you to an answer to your question or to a human to help.

This analogy extends to how impersonal your wellbeing programs may feel to your employees if you are relying solely on your insurance provider to construct and manage them. The problem is individuals have unique needs, and a generic program that simply calls up the same answer over and over again will not deliver your desired results.

Let’s take a look at the top reasons why.

  • One-size-fits-all packaged programs. Insurance companies have created wellbeing programs through the lens of lowering their insurance payouts.  Has your insurance provider offered to survey your employees to determine what they might expect or want from you on these topics? Have they offered to customize a solution for you based on your own research?  The critical starting point of any program development process is knowing what your target audience wants, and then developing solutions that address their needs.  Insurance company wellbeing programs, although they have great content, start with a focus on their needs.
  • Negative insurance company sentiment. How many people do you believe like or thinks highly of their insurance company?  Given the continued health cost increase trend, and the growing percentage individuals personally pay, most of us do not have a positive view of our insurance company, fairly or unfairly.  This negative sentiment leads to skepticism about the insurance company’s intent in providing wellbeing programs, which leads to lower than desired participation rates.
  • Ineffective incentives that change short or long-term behavior. The typical incentive offered for wellbeing program participation by insurance company sponsored programs is a premium discount at some point in the future.  This singular focus incentive does not consider the motivational attitudes of today’s multi-generational workforce.  For example, Gen Xers and Millennials have grown up in an immediate feedback environment.  Waiting 12-months to receive a discount on their insurance premium is not an effective incentive for these employees.

But the greatest damage to solely relying on your insurance company for your wellbeing programs may be to your corporate culture.  Think about the message your employees are receiving from this approach. An insurance provider’s greatest conflict of interest with your culture comes from their self-serving goal of lower costs, which is most likely at odds with your desire to demonstrate that you care about and value the whole-health needs of your employees.

Augmenting your comprehensive employee experience with campaigns from your insurance company can be an effective strategy.  After all, they have invested significantly in the development of their wellbeing programs and support. And these services can help you achieve higher employee engagement through improved health and mental clarity. But their solutions only address a fraction of the holistic wellbeing needs of your workforce.

Organizations are at different stages in the journey to comprehensive employee wellbeing.  We have developed three 2018 Strategic Plans based on these varied life-cycles.  Take a look and hopefully you will get some ideas to amplify your plans.

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