Well-being research reveals employee expectations

The health care industry talks a lot about workplace well-being from the employer or health plan perspective. But we wondered, what do employees think about well-being? And how might their perspectives translate to improved health offerings and outcomes?

To learn more about this important topic, Optum recently partnered with the National Business Group on Health® (NBGH) to gather employee insights about well-being, including:

  • How it affects the employee experience
  • Which services employers support and which ones employees wish they supported
  • The connection between well-being and the community surrounding the workplace

More than 2,000 full-time employees with group plan coverage from large U.S. employers — those with more than 3,000 employees — participated in the survey. Our questions covered multiple dimensions of well-being, including physical health, financial health and behavioral health. To gain a fuller picture of well-being, we also asked about social health and community health, including the ability to relate to and connect with people and a community.

I shared the results in a recent webinar along with co-presenter, Pamela Rich, Senior Manager, Well-being & Workforce Strategy, NBGH. Among several significant findings, we noted four key insights:

  1. When it comes to employee well-being, more is more. The research found that investment in multiple dimensions of well-being is correlated with high levels of employee productivity, loyalty and well-being. Employees who report that their employer addresses 4–5 dimensions of well-being (compared to only 0–3 dimensions) are significantly more likely to have an excellent or very good impression of their employer (77% vs. 50%) and report that their usual job performance has been excellent over the past year or two (88% vs. 81%).
  2. Employers have an opportunity to better address financial and behavioral health. When asked what single dimension of well-being they wanted their company to address more, 32% of employees surveyed chose financial health, followed closely by mental health at 27%. In both areas, employee interest outpaced employer support in several topics, including housing and transportation costs, sleep health, student loan debt and work burnout.
  3. Community health factors influence employee well-being. Employees who rate their overall well-being as excellent or very good often describe a healthy community surrounding their workplace including recreation centers, bike paths and restaurants with healthy menu options.
  4. Access is key. The research found a relationship between high levels of employee well-being and access to both quality behavioral health services and health care in convenient locations. Employees who reported excellent or very good overall well-being also reported easy access to urgent care clinics, behavioral health clinics and ambulatory care centers.

To learn more about the findings and to gain actionable insights to help guide your investments and program design, view the webinar on demand.

Click here to watch: https://optum.co/jcz6s

About the Author

SerxnerSeth - Full shot

Seth Serxner
Chief Health Officer, OptumHealth

Seth Serxner, a national expert on behavior change, program design and measurement, brings the breadth of his experience in academia, industry and consulting to his role as chief health officer at OptumHealth.

His versatile skill set ensures processes and outcomes that improve health for clients in all markets. His deep knowledge of behavior change, population health and measurement allow him to visualize and deliver on program innovation.

He is a published author with over 25 years of experience in health and productivity management. He holds a master’s in public health and a doctorate from the University of California, where his research focused on health promotion and disease prevention in social ecology.

5 thoughts on “Well-being research reveals employee expectations

  1. Seth, very interesting research but not surprising. When employers and employees are on the same page in regards to individual well-being needs, there is great value proposition. I have found when designing programs for our clients financial well-being, sleep revitalization, community engagement and work-life balance are at the top of the list. Thanks for sharing.

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