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Employee Well-Being Programs: Outdated Perk or Strategic Imperative?

By Alliant Employee Benefits / March 07, 2024

Resilient employers understand the value of supporting their employees’ well-being. Employees continue to look to their organization for effective tools to help manage stress, burnout, and loneliness, as well as their financial health and assistance in managing expenses.

As companies feel the pressures of inflation too, many employers are reevaluating their well-being programs and are questioning the effectiveness and ROI of the tools, apps, and resources they’ve invested in.

The World Health Organization (WHO)1 estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.

The post-COVID workplace

COVID-19 spurred massive growth in the digital healthcare space and has forever changed how employees access care, with telehealth and virtual care utilization hitting all-time highs. Integrated apps that sync with employees’ digital devices are increasingly popular, especially with Gen Z who take up nearly 30% of the workforce, today. The marketplace is flooded with apps like meditation and stress reduction, nutrition and exercise coaching, teletherapy, discount programs, and more, creating a great opportunity for employers to encourage healthy habits.

However, companies looking to these apps for a seismic impact on plan costs will continue to face challenges until they shift their perspective – seeing value as more than just dollar signs.

Shifting the focus

Employers looking for value in their wellness offerings must see their investment through a different lens:

  • Redefine goals and expectations: Now more than ever, employees expect their employers to have tools and resources that support their total well-being. It's crucial for employers to provide tools and resources that address their population’s physical, mental, and emotional health needs. By defining expectations and leveraging health and utilization data, employers can identify gaps in their current offerings and highlight areas where their efforts are clinically unsuccessful. This information can then be used to drive an actionable program strategy.
  • Blend wellness ROI with wellness VOI: ROI is not the only place to look for value. In fact, digital well-being tools on their own make very little return on investment. The larger and most important outcome of an effective well-being initiative is the value of having a healthy, productive, and resilient workforce. A healthy workforce is more engaged, motivated, and likely to perform at their best. A successful well-being initiative can contribute to a positive work culture that fosters growth and success.

Curated, data-backed, and clinically successful workplace well-being resources will always be more impactful than one-size-fits-all perks.

Drive workplace health strategies with experience

Well-being tools have come under scrutiny for their impact on total benefits expenditure. However, the truth is that well-being programs can drive results and add value to an organization when the wellness offerings hit the mark. A program that promotes inclusive, intersectional well-being and nurtures and inspires employees requires a different view, beyond cost-related metrics. Organizations willing to shift that perspective will see significant results when they combine their digital well-being tools—carefully procured and monitored—with a strategy that acknowledges the complexity of addressing holistic wellness.

1Depression Fact Sheet, World Health Organization, 2021; 


About Alliant Insurance Services
Alliant Insurance Services is one of the nation’s leading and fastest-growing distributors of diversified insurance products and services. In the face of increasing complexity, our approach is simple: bring on the best people and invest more deeply in the industries and clients we serve. We operate through a network of specialized national platforms and regional offices to offer a comprehensive portfolio of services to our clients. Our goal is to ensure that they get the most innovative products— and innovative thinking—in the industry.