In a Millennial Workforce, Outdated Wellness Benefits Won’t Engage Talent.

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96% of Millennials say great healthcare benefits would be the most important factor when choosing between two companies with similar pay and responsibilities (1).

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Millennials are tomorrow’s workforce. In about three years, they will form 50% of the work population (2). Millennials are swiftly entering the workforce, while incorporating their Millennial values, technology habits and health needs.

With the tightest labor market in decades, Millennials are known to be picky about their employer. According to a survey by Gallup, “Millennials approach a role and a company with a highly defined set of expectations (3).” They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They also seek greater flexibility and autonomy, along with the ability to lead a healthy life. Most importantly, Millennials want their health benefits to reflect their lifestyle, mindset and technology preferences.

“Millennials want their health benefits to reflect their lifestyle, mindset and technology preferences.”

TREND #1

Millennials use technology to make health an ongoing pursuit.

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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 (4).

“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.”

Millennials love health and fitness technology. The rise of wearables, food tracking apps, connected scales and smart apparel are all examples of a new culture of wellness (5) (6). Wearables alone are projected to reach 105 million unit shipments and 3.33 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2022 (7). Millennial females alone spend over 200% more time in Sports, Health and Fitness apps than the rest of the population (6). For Millennials, being healthy does not just mean ‘not sick’. It is a daily pursuit, and self-collected data is a big part of it. 

Fitness testing, which was once reserved to professional athletes and elite sports labs and weight loss clinics, is a booming practice, including among “casual” gym goers (8) (9). A rising number of Millennials are using professional, lab-quality tests for body composition and metabolic testing, aerobic capacity testing, blood testing, and even genetic testing.

Millennials are increasingly collecting wellness data on diet, exercise, sleep, stress, metabolism, body composition, vitamins, aerobic capacity, bone health, blood glucose and pretty much any other health or wellness indicator they can track ―all with the goal of optimizing wellness.

“For Millennials, being healthy does not just mean “not sick.” It is a daily pursuit, and self-collected data is a big part of it.”

TREND #2

Millennials want to be in control of their health

 The recent rise of fitness and health tracking technologies has also shown 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 (10) (11).

 Today, the doctor’s office is no longer the only place where Millennials get to learn about their own health (11). Millennials have increased access to personal health and wellness data, whether it’s through connected scales, activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, blood glucose monitors, food logs, or practically any tool that can collect data. 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 (12). 

“Perhaps the most staggering number is that only 41% of Millennials view their doctor as the single best source of information.”

Perhaps the most staggering number is that only 41% of Millennials view their doctor as the single best source of information (13). Moreover, 45% of Millennials prefer to use an over-the-counter medication, rather than depend on a doctor to give them a prescription (13). In fact, many Millennials do not even have a strong connection with their primary care physician (13).

TREND #3

Millennials want (their employer) to invest in health and well-being

Back in the days, work, stability and material goods meant everything. Today health and happiness are worth more for Millennials.

Millennials see work in a different way than previous generations do, and, consequently, they want to prioritize their health and happiness (14). 72% of Millennials would rather spend time and money on experiences such as social events and fitness activities, than on work and material goods (15).

For Millennials, life isn’t just about income: They want to collect memories through meaningful experiences, “snap” with their phones, update their status, track their runs, post on social media and constantly add to their skills in unique ways (2). Long working hours, combined with stress, produce a greater disruption to Millennials’ personal lives and lower their quality of life (16) (17).

Millennials buy less cars and homes than previous generations (18). 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 (19). Furthermore, Millennials’ willingness to pay a premium for health increases even more with age (20).


CONCLUSION

Millennials are expected to transform the way employers approach health and wellness; Millennials view data and technology as a key building block for achieving optimal health. For Millennials, health is an ongoing pursuit that does not only happen at the doctor’s office. Health plays an important part in Millennials’ lives, and they are willing to spend a lot of time and money on it. As a result, some of the largest and most cutting-edge employers are introducing fully data-driven, technology-based wellness benefits such as Fitnescity, with services that include wellness lab testing, sensors and digital coaching. These employers understand that Millennials want to be in control of their health.

In a tight labor market, employers who invest in wellness while keeping in mind Millennials’ technological and cultural preferences will emerge as the winners.

This article was originally published as white paper. 

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References

(1)       “The Millennial Mind Goes to Work: How Millennial Preferences Will Shape the Future of the Modern Workplace.” Bentley University, commissioned survey. October 2014. Link.

(2)       Brack, J., & Kip, K. “Maximizing in the Workplace.” Kenan-Flagler Business School. 2012. Link.

(3)       “State of the American Workplace.” Gallup. 2017. Link.

(4)       Deloitte Development LLC. “The Millennial Mindset Work styles and aspirations of Millennials. 2017. Link.

(5)       Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “Investing in the Millennial Effect.” September 2016. Link.

(6)       Fit Click Editorial Staff. “Millennials are Shaping the Future of Health Apps.” Real World Healthcare. July 2015. Link.

(7)       “Fitness tracker device unit shipments worldwide from 2016 to 2022”. Statista. 2018. Link.

(8)       Cumming, G. R. “Fitness Testing Athletes.” Canadian Family Physician. August 1970. Link.

(9)       Applebaum, V. “Focus on Fitness Assessments.” Idea Health & Fitness Association. May 2013. Link.

(10)   Yas, M. “Risks and Benefits of Self-Diagnosis Using the Internet.” Salem State University. May 2015. Link.

(11)   Kirk, A. “One in four self-diagnose on the internet instead of visiting the doctor.” The Telegraph. July 2015. Link.

(12)   “Inaugural Health Ambitions Study.” Aetna. July 2018. Link.

(13)   O’Connor Vos, L. “The New World of Healthcare: What Millennials Want.” Greyhealth Group & Kantar. Link.

(14)   Psöria, P. & Ojala, S & Saari, T. “The Millennial Generation: A New Breed of Labour.” Sage Journals. March 2016. Link.

(15)   “Millennials: Fueling the Experience Economy”. Eventbrite. Link.

(16)   Bohle, P. & Quinlan M. & Kennedy, D. & Williamson A. “Working hours, work-life conflict and health in precarious and "permanent" employment.” Scielo Public Health. 2004. Link.

(17)   Greenhaus, J. “The relation between work–family balance and quality of life.” Elsevier. 2013. Link.

(18)   “Annual Homeownership Rates for the United States by Age Group: 1982–2017” U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey. February 2018. Link.

(19)   My Protein. “How Much Do Americans Spend On Health & Fitness? | Survey Results Revealed.” February 2018. Link.

(20)   The Nielsen Group. “We Are What We Eat Healthy Eating Trends Around the World.” 2015. Link.