The Conundrum of Employee Health
In a recent interview, someone asked me “how come you are getting traction with companies with your proposition? You are showing them where the problem is with employee health and once they know, they will have to do something about it. That’s why most of the time they do not want to know and are happy to just provide a wellbeing week or month or even few meditation and yoga classes”.
On the other hand, at The Future Health Summit, we heard Dr. Peter Carter, OBE, who talked about a business case of looking after staff in NHS because there are 100,000 open positions in NHS and 30% want to leave!
Human nature is inherently driven by adrenalin. Do organisations behave the same way? After all organisations are run by humans. Maybe that’s why the best conversations we have are with those organisations who are feeling real pain due to poor employee health, and they NEED to do something. Ticking the box exercises are not working.
We are working on a project to improve health of a specific cohort, particularly on mental health around anxiety and burnout. The encouraging data from the project indicated that the main reason it worked was because the coach led platform provided a safe space where the users felt they are heard. A lot of the time, the problem is not related to work but something completely different. Just knowing there is someone available to listen to them and not provide a ‘solution’ but ideas of how to cope or how to look at a problem from various perspectives helps. The other reason for this working was because they felt ‘they were giving something back’. Taking part in the support groups, where everyone helping each other, gave them a sense of fulfilment.
Today we live in the world of choices, so why would looking after our health not be the choice? I will only see or interact with what will help my physical and mental health and wellbeing. Companies empowering their workforce to do that in a safe space, can not only earn brownie points, but in a talent constraint world, organisations can get more engaged and dedicated employees.
It is controversial what I am about to say, but it is true. It is time to re-think Employee Assistant Programmes (EAPs). Most companies we talk to, either say they have practically non-existent take up of the EAP or they have no clear vision from those programmes, what their employees want! If this was the situation before, imagine how difficult it is now, when hybrid or remote working is becoming norm.
Many of our clients have both EAPs and Empeal running alongside each other. I am sure there are many more solutions like Empeal who are running side by side. At least we know, as far as Empeal is concerned, it is seeing consistent improvement in sleep, stress, activity, happiness, and positive emotions markers. We are also seeing wellness-based interventions are more effective on our platform. So, it is probably time to do some spring cleaning and take a data driven approach to understand what is working and what is not.