The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world lives, especially how its people work. 2020 and the first half of 2021 brought new challenges to companies and their employees.
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Once a nice-to-have incentive, employee wellness programs have become a staple in the workplace.
As their popularity grows, employers look for ways to make them more accessible.
Enter HR technology.
With the growth of wellness tech and the advent of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), organizations now have powerful tools to streamline and enhance their health and well-being initiatives.
In this article we explore all aspects of HRIS in wellness management, including integration, benefits, challenges, and future trends.
The Importance of Employee Wellness Programs
The 2022 Global Benefits Attitude Survey by Willis Towers Watson reveals that employees seek health benefits in addition to pay and job security.
In fact, their importance in attracting and retaining talent has reached a 10-year high.
The report also showed a strong link between a culture built on well-being and positive employee outcomes.
Employee wellness programs play a crucial role in accomplishing this.
They encompass different activities targeting everything from physical and emotional health to financial and social well-being.
Examples of employee wellness programs include:
- On-Site Fitness Classes
- Fitness Challenges
- Nutrition Education
- Biometric Screenings
- Disease Management
- Mental Health Counseling
- Financial Literacy
- Health Risk Assessment (HRA)
- Tobacco Cessation
- Weight Management
Some employers also make flexible work schedules and remote work part of their wellness strategies.
Studies show the benefit of a better work-life balance that these bring can increase job performance and productivity.
Whether one or a combination of more initiatives, these contribute to a healthier, happier, and more engaged workforce.
Exceeding their importance for employees, they have also proven to be an excellent business opportunity for organizations.
Now, the question is, how can HR tech help?
The Role of HR Technology in Enhancing Wellness Programs
The human resources department plays a crucial part in promoting employee well-being. They often oversee a program’s implementation, employee participation and engagement, and the outcome.
However, in an already hectic environment, the complexity of these tasks makes them costly and time-consuming.
Thus, HR technology emerged as a solution to improve efficiency, making organizational goals more manageable while cutting down time and expenses.
Valued at $21.6 billion in 2021, predictions indicate that the global HR software market could reach over $38 billion by 2027, affirming its growing use and role in businesses of all sizes.
Innately, this also impacts employee wellness.
With that, the role of HR technology has expanded to employee wellness programs, making them:
- Easier to manage for HR professional
- More affordable for the company
- More accessible for workers
HR Technology for Wellness
From health apps and fitness trackers to telemedicine and mental health apps, wellness tech revolutionized how we approach employee benefits.
Now, companies are going the extra mile by leveraging HR technology to manage better and track their wellness progress.
Simply put, HR tech can automate the administrative aspects, reduce manual work, and help businesses make data-driven decisions. For example, by analyzing employee data, like their health and engagement, it can fine-tune corporate wellness programs to fit employees’ needs and get the best ROI.
HRIS is an excellent illustration of this.
Integration of Employee Well-being Strategies with HRIS
HRIS is a software solution companies use to efficiently manage data and automate many HR functions, including administrative tasks, accounting, performance management, etc.
Statistics show that its functionality is the biggest motivator for deploying HRIS in companies of all sizes, especially in the U.S., where 73.45% of employers use this software. Other reasons include increased efficiency, growth support, and consolidating systems.
Once integrated, these factors also complement wellness strategies.
With all information within one system, the integration ensures everything is easily accessible to HR and the employees.
It also enables real-time data monitoring and analytics.
What this does is help HR professionals to keep track of every aspect of the initiative, including:
- Employee health before and after the implementation
- Participation and engagement rates
- Measure effectiveness and areas of improvement
Then, they can use these insights to make data-driven decisions for more targeted initiatives.
Integrating well-being strategies with HRIS also ensures that all initiatives, as well as relevant information, challenges, and support networks, are readily accessible to employees through the platform.
Key Features & Capabilities of HRIS in Wellness Management
There’s a reason why companies turn to HRIS.
This technology comes with specific features and capabilities that make it a powerful tool for effective wellness management, including:
- Health risk assessments or evaluating employees’ health and potential risks before implementing a wellness initiative.
- Integration with wellness tech, including fitness trackers and other wearable devices for accessing real-time data and motoring employee participation and progress.
- Predictive analytics to identify wellness trends by analyzing patterns in the data.
- Gamification for additional engagement, including rewards and recognition after reaching any goal or milestone.
- Employee self-service or allowing employees access to their data, easy participation in wellness programs, etc.
- Customizable well-being modules that allow companies to address diverse employee needs through personalized wellness programs and initiatives.
- Survey and feedback mechanisms to get better insights into the program’s effectiveness and point out areas of improvement.
- Comprehensive reporting tools for generating detailed reports on different criteria, including participation rates, impact, etc.
Implementing an HRIS Wellness Solution
On the one hand, we have lower health costs, employee productivity, and better engagement. On the other, we have time and cost savings through efficient data management.
Incorporate HRIS with wellness solutions, and companies and their employees can benefit from both.
However, saying this is a complex process would be an understatement.
Since it doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, implementing HRIS wellness solutions requires a strategic approach.
To do that, companies should consider:
- Assessing employees’ health needs and priorities
- Setting personalized goals and milestones
- Selecting the right vendor and solution
- Facilitating employee training
Only then should they continue with the remaining steps like integration, engagement initiatives, and results monitoring.
Integrating Workplace Initiatives into HRIS
HRIS integration connects this system with other software applications, systems, or organizational databases.
In this case, it connects with wellness software or large employee databases to track the metrics of different initiatives.
Thus, whether it’s health and wellness, flexible work arrangements, or other employee initiatives, HRIS provides a centralized platform for workers to access information, participate in relevant programs, and stay informed.
Importance of Employee Engagement in Wellness Programs
After successful integration, the next and possibly biggest challenge is to get employees enthusiastic about the program and actively engaging.
While HRIS makes this easier by providing a centralized platform for easy participation, companies should also consider other ways of motivating their workforce.
Incentives are usually the way to go, as well as employee recognition and building a culture around health and wellness.
Utilizing HR Technology for Team Building
A crucial aspect of wellness initiatives is team building.
For example, fitness challenges, shared goals, or even friendly competition can all inspire and promote teamwork among participants.
When we weigh HR technology in this, it becomes even easier for employees to communicate and connect, bringing a sense of community and encouraging a collective approach to well-being.
Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs
After an extensive overview of HRIS advantages and a brief discussion on the significance of corporate wellness, let’s dive deeper into the benefits of employee wellness programs.
From health to financial advantages, here’s what implementing wellness programs means for employers and their employees.
Improved Employee Health and Well-being
Improved health and well-being are immediate employee wellness program benefits. Depending on the type, they can increase energy levels, reduce or prevent health issues, and improve mental health.
A survey by UnitedHealthcare shows these programs positively impact health for more than half of the workforce (53%).
Besides, of those:
- 88% were more motivated to prioritize their health
- 67% lost weight
- 56% reported a cut in sick days
Enhanced Productivity and Performance
The UnitedHealthcare survey shows that, for 62% of the workforce, a wellness program led to better productivity.
Moreover, according to the American Psychological Association, nine in ten employees feel motivated to perform their best in workplaces run by leaders who support well-being initiatives.
Research consistently shows a positive correlation between employee well-being and job performance, emphasizing that organizations investing in wellness observe higher levels of productivity and efficiency.
Obviously, healthy and engaged employees are inherently more productive.
Workers who feel physically and mentally well are better equipped to focus on their tasks, exhibit creativity, and contribute actively to team objectives.
Reduction in Healthcare Costs
The financial aspect is another shared benefit between companies and individuals.
Early detection, health education, and access to different resources can reduce preventable medical expenses.
In fact, some sources reveal that for every dollar spent on employee wellness programs, the company saves $3.27 on medical and $2.73 on absenteeism costs.
Positive Impact on Work Culture & Employee Satisfaction
Finally, investing in wellness can contribute to a positive and supportive work culture. It’s an aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked since it’s closely connected to employee satisfaction.
For example, statistics show that 70% of workers who enrolled in a wellness program reported higher satisfaction. At the same time, studies show that for 54% of employees it also improves employee morale.
Happy and satisfied employees tend to be more loyal and engaged, making a full circle when it comes to employee wellness program benefits.
Challenges & Solutions
While the functionalities and advantages of HRIS are many, there are some challenges to consider.
Cost is the main one since this software’s price, maintenance, and management go in the thousands. In fact, according to SoftwarePath, HRIS costs around $210 per user per month on average. However, the price largely depends on the company size.
Adding the expense of a wellness program makes budget restraints an even bigger issue, which is why it’s essential to prioritize employee wellness initiatives based on their impact.
HR and employee training can pose another limitation.
Thus, providing continuous training for HR on system usage and data handling is crucial.
Also, it’s worth noting that some employees will show resistance to adopting new technologies. Workshops and incentives can help them engage, while an intuitive and easy-to-use platform can encourage a smooth transition.
Data privacy and security cannot be overlooked either since these systems carry sensitive employee data, posing a major concern for companies.
With cyber-attacks happening regularly, companies should ensure robust security measures, including encryption, secure access controls, and compliance with data protection regulations.
Addressing Common Challenges in Implementing HRIS Wellness Solutions
Now, HRIS wellness solutions come with their own set of challenges.
Although cost, privacy, and employee limitations are all applicable as well, using employee wellness programs through HRIS also sets forth the following:
- Potential software incompatibility
- Complex integrations
- Limited resources (financial and human)
- Need for advanced HRIS functionalities
- Lack of employee engagement
By acknowledging and proactively addressing these challenges, organizations can pave the way for the effective integration of HR technology in employee wellness programs.
Future Trends in HR Technology for Wellness
The growing movement in HR tech and corporate wellness indicates the necessity for employee wellness programs through HRIS to become part of modern organizational strategies.
As for future trends, it remains to be seen.
However, companies are turning more towards artificial intelligence, cloud-based solutions, machine learning, and advanced data analytics. These are already influencing the ever-evolving HR tech landscape and are likely to do so in the future.
Finding their way into corporate wellness could also improve the effectiveness and personalization of these initiatives.
From AI-driven wellness recommendations to better behavioral insights and predictive analytics, merging HR technology with employee wellness programs could, in the long run, improve how we view workers’ health while driving organizational success.
Written by Tamara Jovanovska
Content Writer at Shortlister
- 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey
- Work-Life Balance, Job Satisfaction, and Job Performance of SMEs Employees: The Moderating Role of Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors
- HR Software Market Size, Evaluating Trends and Forecasted Outlook for 2023-2030
- Wellness Programs Cut Sick Days, Improve Productivity
- Workplace Well-being Linked to Senior Leadership Support, New Survey Finds
- Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings
- HUB International Releases Findings of Second Annual Benefits Barometer Study
- 2022 HRIS Report, SoftwarePath
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