By Amanda McGrory-Dixon
More employers are relying on new technologies to promote health engagement and attain targeted employee behavior changes, according to a new study by Buck Consultants and WorldatWork.
Specifically, 62 percent of respondents report using gamification and believe it is most effective, and 31 percent of respondents say they are likely to implement gamification in the next year. Fifty percent of respondents use social networking, though there are concerns over personal privacy. Another 36 percent of respondents use mobile technology, which is the least used, but 40 percent of respondents say they expect to rely on mobile technology in the future.
Additionally, 73 percent of respondents say they have implemented health engagement strategies, measure communication effective have a health engagement strategy in place and measurement of communication effectiveness, but return on investment could use more help.
While roughly half of respondents say mobile technology will be the most prevalent technology used by employers in the next two years, only 11 percent of respondents report measuring ROI on mobile apps and social media platforms, and 21 percent of respondents say they measure ROI on gamification.
“The lack of measurement is due, in part, to the fact that many companies are using third parties, such as health insurers and wellness program vendors, to handle various aspects of their wellness programs,” says Lenny Sanicola, CBP, senior benefits practice leader of WorldatWork. “These companies should direct their vendors to better engage employees and to collaborate on measuring effectiveness.”
The survey reveals that the largest obstacle from keeping respondents using these technologies is budgeting at 71 percent for gamification, 73 percent for mobile technology and 68 percent for social networking. Respondents also say lack of senior management support and no effectiveness measurements are barriers for these technologies. When it comes to social media, 43 percent of respondents say they have blocked some or all sites from employees’ computers.
“Today’s health care benefits require individuals to absorb an increasing share of expanding health care costs,” says Scot Marcotte, managing director of talent and human resources solutions at Buck Consulting. “Technology offers unprecedented ways for employers to motivate and enable employees to become more effective health care consumers. But employers need to better understand what drives their workers to make the desired changes.”