How Using Data and Evidence Can Optimise a Health and Wellness Strategy

Last updated: 2023-07-037 min read time
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Data, in any form, allows for better decision making. Using claims data to direct your health and well-being strategy is a data-driven way to improve your employees' well-being. When you know what employees most often use, empirically, you can turn a one-size-fits-all health approach into a tailored strategy that targets proven areas of need, allowing for better stewardship of your investment and better opportunity for employee loyalty and engagement.

Claims data can be used for cost control and employee satisfaction

As the labor market continues to tighten, employers must use every tool they have to attract and retain quality employees. Paired with the cost of living crisis and resulting health costs, most companies are scrambling to ensure that every pound spent on benefits is both necessary and optimized for use.

In the UK, a growth in population, an aging population, and the rise in the price of drugs and treatments has resulted in a steady upward trend of health costs across the board. For employers, this highlights the urgency to optimise benefits for best return on investment. When benefits are flexible, an employee is able to design support to meet the areas they need, and employers don’t waste funds on a one-size-fits-all benefits package.

Man using an ipad whilst sitting at a desk - Benify

3 ways claims data can save money and satisfy employees

1. Use data on current impact to educate employees

The worst case scenario for a company’s benefits is when services provided by a company go unused by employees due to lack of awareness. Data can help inform all employees about what benefits are available to them. Showing key stats about use and results and sharing those updates across your company can help grow visibility and allow for employees to become better educated about available benefits.

If only a few employees are taking advantage of a wellness benefit, highlighting the experience of those employees is a great way to alert the rest of the company that they not only have a benefit available, but that benefit has a positive impact on their peers.

For example, if your company subsidizes a subscription to a meditation app, highlight how helpful it’s been for those who use it. Share the statistics. For example, “3% of our company is using this app, and 100% report a positive change. Why not give it a try?” You’re paying for a company-wide benefit. If only 3% of your company are using it, you either need to evaluate its inclusion in your package or radically alter how it’s being presented.

2. Engage employees to gather data in different ways

It’s easy to find empirical data on how many employees are using a benefit, but it’s also worth speaking with employees to gather anecdotal evidence about what they enjoy. Using the above example, a company could ask how often an employee with a meditation app subscription uses it. Does that use extend to their partner or children? What would cause them to use it more? For employees who don’t use it, what would it take for them to start?

How you gather data about the use of benefits is important. An email survey can reach the whole company, but more in-depth data can come from a ten minute focus group. While discussing the usefulness and appeal of a meditation app, an employee might suggest a scheme for access to yoga studios, or express a desire for a subscription workout app. Anecdotal feedback, when added to data, allows for informed decisions that ensure your investment in certain benefits is optimized to reach the greatest number of employees.

3. Use claims data to see if your strategy is geographically optimized

With the boom of remote work, many companies have employees over a wide geographical area. Benefits should be designed with this in mind.

For example, many EU countries offer comprehensive healthcare. However, the same benefits are not offered in every country. Our whitepaper Guide to Global Benefits explains this in detail. Knowing which benefits are not covered by which governments can better inform how your benefits offerings need to differ between countries.

Standard health benefits usually include visits to a general practitioner. But what about dental care? Physical therapy? Yoga and massage? Countries like Germany consider yoga a part of physical therapy that can be prescribed and covered by health insurance, but in the United States, it’s considered preventative and often elective. Knowing this can help your company offer benefits for employees based in the US that employees based in Germany may not need, allowing you to save money and perhaps offer a different benefit to those in Munich and Berlin.

If a non-standard benefit will impact a certain geographical region, you will only know it if you ask. Committing to a dialogue about benefits with employees allows for flexibility and targeted benefits. In turn, this increases satisfaction and lowers costs.

Man using his mobile phone to access his benefits - Benify

What do your employees want? What tools are your employees' using?

Multinational companies must constantly keep abreast of the shifting needs of employees in different countries and regions. It It is essential for HR executives to gather data on benefits use and desire as frequently as possible, to ensure you are offering employees' benefits they actually want. 

Engaged employees not only demonstrate higher levels of productivity but also exhibit greater retention rates. As the landscape of work evolves with remote arrangements, inflation concerns, and multi-generational workforce's, employee needs continue to evolve as well. This constant evolution underscores the importance of staying attuned to the changing needs of employees in order to foster a dynamic and inclusive workplace. So, where do you go from here?

We've got answers. In our recent report The Benefits Factor 2023, we offer data points from over 8,000 employees across eight countries that speak to these specific needs. With insights from across the UK and Europe, this report offers a rare snapshot of what employees are asking for right now, and what they consider necessary for the future workplace. It is an essential tool for any HR professional looking to build an informed benefits program rooted in data. Click below to access the report.