Articles — Jul 14, 2022
5 Key Employee Well-being Insights from Today’s Top Health Experts
bswift recently held a series of webinars on trending topics in the benefits, healthcare, and technology spaces. As part of the series, bswift President and CEO, Jin Oak Ha, moderated a panel discussion titled “Illuminating the Path,” featuring a panel of CVS Health experts including:
Joneigh Khaldun, MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief Health Equity Officer
at CVS Health
Cara McNulty, DPA
& Mental Wellbeing,
Aetna a CVS Health Company
Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP
Senior Vice President,
Aetna Chief Medical Officer
at CVS Health
The panel shared their latest insights on managing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, improving access to healthcare, and the role of digital health experiences in the future.
Here are our top five takeaways from this informative session!
It’s not just the health of the employee,
but the health of their community
Healthy living doesn’t happen in isolation. Rather, it’s a self-reinforcing trend that includes regular input from family, friends, and neighbors. When considering how to build a healthy, resilient workforce, employers need to think beyond just improving the health of their workforce and, instead, look at their employees’ communities as a whole. Healthier communities can encourage well-being among all its members. Employers can do this by participating in initiatives and connecting employees to resources that can help expand their access to affordable health care, especially for those in traditionally underserved communities.
Every company is a health company
Employee health has become a massive priority in the wake of the pandemic. Employers must go beyond the basics of just considering health plans and programs for employees and, instead, closely examine their own operations and how they impact the health of the global community. There are four lenses to assess this through:
- Consider the products your company sells and how they impact health.
- Review how you invest in employee health, and potentially explore new opportunities outside traditional well-being programs.
- Assess your impact on the environment and the health of the planet.
- Demonstrate a commitment to employees’ communities, investing in collective health along with individual health.
Telehealth is here to stay
Since the pandemic began, telehealth has played a major role in employees’ mental and physical well-being. During the height of the pandemic, when lockdowns were prevalent and vaccines were not, the number of people seeking treatment or screening for chronic conditions plummeted. This led to worsening health outcomes, and in response, telehealth rapidly expanded. Telehealth was safe, efficient, and generally less expensive. In addition, doctors have seen increased usage amongst traditionally hard to reach demographics who were drawn to its low barrier of entry and virtual nature.
As the pandemic continues to lessen in severity, further investment in telehealth can fill an important role in the employee health sphere. It serves the dual purpose of encouraging more frequent well-being checkups while expanding access to care.
Mental and physical well-being
Employee mental and physical well-being are not separate issues with separate solutions, but two halves of a healthy whole. To promote a healthy lifestyle among employees, employers must cultivate a culture that elevates mental well-being to the same level as physical. This may involve normalizing conversations about stress, to encouraging displays of vulnerability. Structural change like this must start with practice by leadership. The Great Resignation continues to show us how much employees value an employer that cares about their total well-being, and the onus is on leaders to follow through by working hard to retain talent and communicating the company’s passion for health.
Health is not just a program,
it’s a change
Our top takeaway from the panel discussion is that intertwining well-being initiatives, investing in telemedicine, assessing the health impact of operations, and expanding community access to health care are not achievable via a one-and-done program. Rather, they require a structural change to the business as a whole.
By fostering a company culture that focuses on flexibility, openness, and prioritizing employee health, employers can see a reduction in stress and increase in employee happiness. This focus on health can, in turn, help reduce health inequity, expand access to care, and improve community health. Health is a lifelong investment, and that adage is as true for individuals as it is for companies.