Majority of staff value personalization in group benefits plans

The majority (80 per cent) of working Canadians reported their overall well-being would improve if their employer offered a personalized wellness program customized to their specific wellness and health-related interests and goals, according to a new survey by RBC Insurance.

If they were offered this type of program, survey respondents also said they’d see improvements in their physical health (78 per cent), favourable opinions of their employer (77 per cent), job satisfaction (73 per cent), mental health (71 per cent) and job productivity (68 per cent).

“The findings reinforced what we already suspected — flexibility in your benefits programs and customization when it comes to your wellness programs are key for working Canadians in terms of how they’re going to feel about their overall well-being, about their employer and how satisfied they’re going to be,” says Julie Gaudry, senior director of group insurance at RBC Insurance.

Read: Do benefits plan members want more personalized health info?

In particular, employees said they value choice in their group benefits plans, especially women — at 92 per cent compared to 87 per cent of men. Nearly the same amount (84 per cent) of all respondents agreed they’d be more likely to participate in a workplace wellness program that’s customized to their specific wellness goals. And 76 per cent of respondents said they’d be willing to share their health and wellness information and goals with an insurer.

“I’m rather encouraged to see that percentage so high and increasing over time, because having access to information that allows us to deliver a personalized experience will make a positive impact on those Canadians who are receiving those programs,” says Gaudry. “Eighty per cent of working Canadians report that their overall well-being would improve if they were offered a personalized wellness program, so we need them to be willing to share that information in order for us to truly deliver a personalized program, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach that has historically been used.”

Read: Hybrid of core coverage, personalized benefits touted as future of health plans

The survey also found a relationship between working Canadians’ overall well-being and those who have group benefits or private coverage. While 70 per cent of respondents with group or private insurance rated their well-being as excellent or good, that figure dropped to 59 per cent for those without any type of insurance coverage. There was a similar trend when respondents described their mental health — 71 per cent for those with group or private insurance coverage compared to 59 per cent without any coverage.

While it can be challenging for organizations to motivate employees to participate in wellness programs, survey respondents highlighted three top factors that would motivate them — a tailored wellness program targeted to specific health-related goals (44 per cent); progress-based incentives/rewards (40 per cent); and time away from their desk during work hours to dedicate to wellness (35 per cent).

Read: Creating a thriving workplace with data, personalized employee benefits