Wellbeing is what everyone now calls “wellness.” Sometimes referred to as “total wellbeing,” it has a more holistic ring to it, taking the full employee – the whole person – into account. However, most of what we’re seeing enter the market are apps addressing one dimension of employee wellbeing. Here’s the thing about wellbeing for employers: it isn’t one-size-fits-all for your employee base. On any given day, or even at any given time, an employee may need more insights or help in any of the areas where wellbeing can help an employee: emotional, physical, financial and professional needs. Apps have been rushing in across this spectrum.
Employee wellbeing is at the nexus of employee benefits, where we see these apps offered in support of elective benefits, and employee engagement, where sentiment or employee input can direct an employee on a path to wellness.
For tech vendors to sustain growth with employers, and more importantly for employers to offer their employee population wellbeing options that adapt to the realities of life and work, both constituencies need to move toward a platform. A platform crossing the spectrum of wellbeing (emotional, physical, financial and professional needs) will help avoid exhausting employees with an onslaught of apps, and in return gives an employer back a more holistic view of the state of wellness in their firm.
Look for vendor consolidation in this space as startups band together and get acquired by others. Also, look for benefits brokers and HCM platforms to develop or purchase the features and then embed them into their employee experience offering.
An example of an approach to total wellbeing is the Lifeworks solution, recently acquired by Morneau Shepell. Further total wellbeing insights are available in our 2019 HCM Trends Report.
The most recent wellbeing app to raise VC funding is Modern Health, a mental well-being benefits platform for employers that raised $9 million Series A funding round led by Kleiner Perkins. Jared Leto, Y Combinator, and Afore also participated in the round. The platform provides companies with a suite of products for employees to access the emotional care they need while helping employers improve worker productivity, retention, and limit costs from over-prescribed in-person therapy. Modern Health will use the new capital to accelerate the development of the product, build its sales organization, and expand its customer base. Founded in 2017, co-founders Alyson Friedensohn and Erica Johnson set out to transform how workers across the U.S. can access the mental health care they need as a core employee benefit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50% of all Americans have a diagnosable mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Yet, existing point solutions have failed to meet the evolving mental health needs of employers and employees, creating a demand for a holistic platform of services.