If you’re a start-up CEO, decision maker or just someone looking to improve the well-being of your colleagues, you’ve probably realized that a company with a high concentration of millennials will not engage talent with the same benefits that larger companies rely on.
Your employee population does not really need a traditional (and somewhat outdated) blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, audio and vision screening.
From my experience working with start-up CEOs looking to implement a wellness program within the company, here are two key lessons.
1- Make sure you give employees the tools they need to be in control of their health
Today, the doctor’s office is no longer the only place where Millennials get to learn about their own health. Millennials have increased access to personal health and wellness data, whether it’s through connected scales, activity trackers, heart rate monitors, blood glucose monitors, food logs, or practically any tool that can collect data.
The recent rise of fitness and health tracking technologies has shown us that Millennials want to be in control of their health. One of the very early signs of this transition has been the increasing popularity of online self-diagnosis; Millennials have started to turn to “Dr. Google” or tools such as WebMD, long before they show up to the doctor’s office, often with printouts and extensive notes about what they’ve learned online.
According to a report by Aetna, 81% of Millennials say they would use a confidential website or app to track health information, and 40% already use an electronic diary to track health information.
This means that an effective wellness program is one that helps your employees keep their wellness information organized and presented in an easy-to-use, actionable manner.
2- Remember that Millennials use technology to make health an ongoing pursuit
Since Millennials are effectively the first generation to grow up with nearly unlimited access to technology and information, they are naturally more information driven and data oriented when it comes to health and wellness. Millennial females alone spend over 200% more time in Sports, Health and Fitness apps than the rest of the population.
As a result, putting in place a one-day yoga retreat or health screening event will not keep your employees engaged. The best solutions are ones that can bridge technology, information and on-going support. For instance, employees should ideally be able to have information about their nutrition, eating, sleep and physical fitness patterns all in one place. This information can then be used by the wellness provider to provide personalized coaching or insights.
3- Invest in More than Just Performance: Retention
Millennials want (their employer) to invest in health and well-being. Millennials buy less cars and homes than previous generations. Instead, Millennials are willing to pay a lot for products and services that provide health benefits. A recent study has shown that Millennials are now spending more on fitness than on college tuition. Aligning your approach to wellness with what matters to your employee population enhances your brand and overall retention.
Investing in Millennials’ health is an important step towards winning the war against talent. However, employers need to be smart about implementing wellness benefits that reflect the fact that Millennials view health as an ongoing pursuit rather than a one-time screening. A technology that collects and organizes continuous (and comprehensive) data about someone’s wellness can enable that. In the long term, this will drive not just performance, but also employee happiness.