Workplace well-being: How do Silicon Valley employers compare?

How do Silicon Valley employers compare to other employers across the U.S. when it comes to addressing employee well-being? Optum recently analyzed its survey of national employers to gauge how Silicon Valley firms stack up.

Below are some key insights from our analysis.

  • Behavioral health and substance use disorder (SUD)Addressing mental health stigma and SUD is critical for nearly all employers. Silicon Valley companies measured slightly behind others in their plans to address mental health stigma (83% vs. 88% of other firms). This lower score reflects their perceived lack of partners and experts who can help with this initiative. Access is another concern for Silicon Valley employers. They don’t feel that enough vendor partners offer solutions that can help their unique populations and geographic locations. Seventy-nine percent of Silicon Valley companies feel concerned their employees don’t have easy access to behavioral health services (compared to 87% of other firms). Silicon Valley and other employers are both concerned about SUDs. However, 65% of Silicon Valley firms are amending benefit policies to address the issue compared to 46% of other employers.​
  • Physical work environment: Nearly seven in 10 employers report recently making changes to the physical work environment to support wellness. Top changes made by Silicon Valley companies in the past three years include on-site fitness centers, healthier food choices, smoke-free campuses and biking programs.
  • Culture of healthEighty-three percent of Silicon Valley employers think that achieving a culture of health is important compared to 80% of other employers. However, achieving this goal is sometimes more challenging because of the focus on recruitment and retention. This drives employers toward a focus on member experience and special services above and beyond traditional benefits. Fewer Silicon Valley employers report they have reached their goal of achieving culture of health (66% vs. 73% of other firms).
  • Advocacy: Advocacy services — a single contact point to the entire array of employer-sponsored benefits — is growing in popularity. Fifty-seven percent of Silicon Valley employers offer advocacy services compared to 45% of other employers. Eighty-five percent think that advocacy helps improve health outcomes compared to 65% of other employers. This is in part due to the fact that Silicon Valley employers expect all of their vendors to include some degree of advocacy.
  • Business strategyThree-fourths of all employers believe that health and wellness programs are important, but only 57% think that they’re key to their overall business strategy. That means that employers, including those in Silicon Valley, have an opportunity to better connect employee well-being to business strategy.

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About the Author

LingShao headshot

Ling Shao
National Vice President, Client Solutions, Optum

Ling works with senior leaders to diagnose and provide innovative and efficient health care solutions.

Prior to joining Optum, Ling was a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and a research nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ling also served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant and a nurse. Ling holds an MBA from Harvard University and BS in Nuclear Engineering from MIT.

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