The first iPhone was launched in January 2007 and as someone who is keen to try out new gadgets, I got my hands on one very quickly. The pocket-sized device was a wonder; it was essentially a mini mobile computer packaged into the size of a mobile phone. Little did I know that along with the proliferation of smartphones and increasing mobile access, these devices would revolutionize many aspects of life for everyone, including myself.
"The traditional key offerings by employers, such as health and life insurance, disability benefits, retirement savings, and employee assistance programs remain crucially important"
The physical, financial, and emotional wellbeing of an employee has changed alongside this development. The traditional key offerings by employers, such as health and life insurance, disability benefits, retirement savings, and employee assistance programs remain crucially important. But the expectations from employees are getting more complex with technological advancements. More importantly, the delivery and data behind these programs are becoming more critical, which requires employers to have the right tools and vision to make the most of them.
In the last few years alone, technology in the HR employee wellbeing ecosystem has made lot of advances:
• Insurers are experimenting with more innovative solutions such as having mobile applications with built-in incentives around health data such as exercise, sleep, heart rate monitors to ensure that employees develop healthy habits. These mobile apps in turn not only drive employee engagement but also provide financial incentives to employers by lowering the medical premiums as a result of a healthier population.
• In the mental health space as well, there are mobile apps that focus on emotional wellbeing that remind employees to practice mindfulness; when to take a pause, when to breathe, and to exercise daily checkpoints on emotional health. There are also health portals that help employees customize their insurance choices to fit their particular lifestyle.
• In the physical health space, there are also many other interesting technology developments in the area of telemedicine, fashion technology and physical activity, DNA testing, nutrition, and dietary monitoring. Previously, evaluations of these could take weeks to complete and accessibility for employees could also be a challenge. Now, all of these are available on mobile devices and can contribute to the ecosystem to make employees more aware of their physical state.
With all the possibilities, employers are now faced with the challenges of creating the roadmap and journey to present them to employees. Issues such as security, data protection and privacy, and encryption are important, particularly for a leading global financial institution like J.P. Morgan where we take these issues very seriously. The success of all these offerings will depend on how best to integrate and synergize all these different available offerings into a more interactive and efficient ecosystem.