Survey: “One-Size-Fits Most” Wellness Initiatives Need to Get More Personal

In a business environment that calls for increasing specialization, the same is true for wellness programs, according to CEOs surveyed by Big 4 firm PwC.

The CEO Panel Survey asked about 700 CEOs how their company’s business model will change after the pandemic. One of the common themes is to be more “employee-oriented.” PwC contends that companies should not rely upon “one-size-fits-most” wellness programs, but to think about employees as individuals.

The report suggests company leaders create personas, or profiles of types of employees and their pressures at work and home – a single mom with young children, for instance, or a 24-year-old at his first professional job – and determine how well-being programs can benefit each of them. Along with data on benefits preferences, companies can use these personas to help reshape their wellness programs.

During the pandemic, 24% of survey respondents reported that they provided additional financial support to employees during the pandemic. Companies are offering employees new variations of flexible work arrangements, access to backup child-care support, or paid leave so they can help set up their children with remote learning.

“True resilience in the face of current and future crises can be cultivated only if leaders understand their employees’ goals and challenges – what they need from their employer to live and work well,” the report says.

The report also outlines five ways to make more wellness benefits more employee-focused:

  • Lead with purpose­ – Establish clarity about the company’s purpose and how it aligns with employees’ needs and preferences.
  • Embed personas into scenario planning ­– Leaders should plan for various scenarios with personas in mind, acknowledging what employees want in terms of how and where they want to work and external factors at play.
  • Upskill employees to help ensure their future success – Organizations have a responsibility to improve skills of those who will move to different roles in the company and those who are forced to work elsewhere.
  • Customize benefits using data and analytics –Perform preference analyses and let data guide decisions.
  • Reimagine employee programs and policies – In addition to redesigning benefits plans, employers should look at broader recruitment and performance strategies.

“To truly support wellness as a meaningful and sustainable benefit, companies should view well-being as more than something that provides momentary relief,” the report notes. “Instead, well-being should be something that sustains people over the long term.”