Employers have an appetite for new technologies to promote health engagement and positive behavioural change in the workplace, according to new research.
“Emerging Technology in Health Engagement,” released by Buck Consultants and WorldatWork, examined current use and future potential of gamification, mobile apps and social media.
Gamification was the most prevalent solution (62 percent) and also ranked highest in terms of employers’ perception of effectiveness. Thirty-one percent are likely to adopt one or more gamification elements in the next year.
Social networking was used by 50 percent of organisations, but ranked highest in terms of concerns over the security of personal information. Mobile technology was the least implemented (36 percent) but ranked the highest priority for future adoption or expansion (40 percent).
The survey of more than 360 employers also found that, despite 73 percent self-reporting a health engagement strategy in place, measurement of ROI and communication effectiveness is lacking.
In terms of barriers to adoption, competition from higher-priority issues was most common, with 71 percent for gamification, 73 percent for mobile technology and 68 percent for mobile networking. Lack of support from senior leaders was also identified, as was the absence of a technique for measuring effectiveness.
Technology is increasingly being used with positive effect on employees but HR must make three things a priority – the security of personal information, company integrity and effective ways to measure ROI. Without the last one, it’s harder to make the business case to senior leaders and ensure the technology does not emerge as a drain on resources.
“The lack of measurement is due, in part, to the fact that many companies are using third parties, such as health insurers and wellness program vendors, to handle various aspects of their wellness programs,” said Lenny Sanicola, CBP, senior benefits practice leader, WorldatWork. “These companies should direct their vendors to better engage employees and to collaborate on measuring effectiveness.”
“Today’s health care benefits require individuals to absorb an increasing share of expanding health care costs,” said Scot Marcotte, managing director of talent and HR solutions at Buck Consultants. “Technology offers unprecedented ways for employers to motivate and enable employees to become more effective health care consumers. But employers need to better understand what drives their workers to make the desired changes.”