As employee well-being becomes an increasingly central business concern, employers are turning to innovative tech for help.
Among other pandemic impacts, the rapid increase in the number of remote workers has helped human resources (HR) professionals make the case for investing in HR tech. These tools help employees manage their money, schedules, training, and benefits digitally in order to streamline the sometimes hectic search for resources.
Stress is a documented enemy of productivity—pre-COVID, financial stress alone cost US employers $500 billion a year in lost productivity. This means that HR tech aimed at making an employee’s life easier could have benefits for the employer’s bottom line.
Falling under the “social” umbrella of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, employee well-being is of interest to investors as well as to employees themselves. Here are three areas in which HR tech may improve employee productivity, retention, and engagement.
1. Financial Health
Nearly three-quarters of employees report being stressed about their finances. Financial wellness technology responds with education, counseling, and money management tools.
For instance, all-inclusive “financial care” platforms such as Brightside and My Secure Advantage assign employees a remote coach or assistant to help them meet their financial goals. Apps like Chime and Gig Wage help hourly or gig economy workers avoid costly payday loans by creating a digital safety net.
The overwhelming move toward remote working highlights the current and future need for adaptive digital and IT skills. Retaining and growing talent continues to be key at the level of both individual companies and the economy as a whole: in the next decade, nearly two-thirds of the American workforce is expected to need additional training to do their jobs. One employer survey found that 72% plan to use virtual reality simulations for their training by 2022.
Platforms like Interapt, GreenFig, and CyberVista aim specifically at closing tech-related skills gaps, especially among workers who may have had limited access to training or education. Crescendo is a company-wide platform designed to help employers create a more inclusive workplace culture.
3. Expanded Benefits
Depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion a year, according to one World Health Organization estimate—and that data was collected before the isolation of pandemic lockdowns complicated mental health challenges for millions of people.
Employers can look to virtual options for keeping employees mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy whether they work remotely or not. Lyra Health and Zevo Health connect employees to digital and in-person mental health services with both digital assessments and tracking apps to motivate and support users.
According to a recent analysis by Deloitte, the biggest challenge may not be a dearth of options but the proliferation of them: as remote work is normalized, HR tech will have to address how employees can navigate the blurring line between the personal and the professional, even when it comes to support systems.