As health and wellness become increasingly ingrained in every aspect of our lives, from how we live and travel to what we consume and where we work, the global wellness industry has caught the attention of many employers looking for unique ways to attract and retain talent, manage HR costs and increase efficiency.
Understanding the marketplace and consumer trends spearheading the wellness industry’s trajectory is important in structuring an effective wellness management programme which best caters to their employees' needs.
Follow JLT as we explore Asia’s evolving wellness trends, utilise expert insight and provide fresh perspectives to help employers navigate the wellness industry’s offerings to create conducive work environments which cultivate longevity, inspire growth and generate impacts.
For a long time corporate wellness in Asia Pacific meant nutrition seminars and 10,000-a-day step challenges. But, with many businesses finally having access to data that shows the impact of employee wellbeing on reducing medical cost and increasing overall productivity, HR managers are beginning to adopt a wide variety of benefits and activities to engage employees.
“The sector in Asia Pacific has changed dramatically in recent years. There is a lot more recognition that corporate wellness goes beyond the physical. There has been a big shift to a holistic approach looking at things like sleep and stress, and use of technology such as wearables,” explains Scott Montgomery, CEO of WellteQ, a technology-driven corporate wellness program provider based in Singapore.
Growth and innovation
A report released last year by Transparency Market Research estimates that the Asia Pacific corporate wellness market will reach US$7.4 billion by the end of 2024. Companies recognising corporate wellness as a strategic priority, and also jobseekers increasingly expecting wellness programs within the workplace, especially millennials, are driving this growth, along with an abundance of new technologies.
“Everyone wants data. What we are seeing is the digital transformation of the HR function to help save costs and develop human capital strategies. Real-time analysis of vehicles has traditionally been used in the transport, aviation and logistics industries – now we are able to correlate vehicle telematics with real-time driver biometrics. We can also use a slightly different approach to calculate cognitive performance - powerful in industries such as investment banking where decisions are literally making or losing millions of dollars”, confirms Montgomery.
Trends and market adoption
In 2017 Virgin Pulse, one of the largest digital employee health providers in the world, was employed to track 423 million healthy habits across their 1000+ clients around the world, and won best corporate wellness provider in Malaysia at the HR Vendor of the Year awards. Larger companies like Virgin Pulse are also making inroads in developed markets such as China, Japan and Singapore.
China was recently revealed to be the fourth largest organic food consumer country in the world, according to The World of Organic Agriculture report. Other Asia territories such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore have also experienced exceptional growth.
Japan has seen steady growth in the sector since amendments to its Industrial Safety and Health Act in 2015 mandated health check-ups for workers and employees, and similar laws are hitting government agendas across the region.
“In the competition for talent, it is critical for HR Managers to stay up to date with the latest product offerings in the Wellness market and rate of adoption. HR managers must also be able to benchmark the current benefits they are offering to their peers in the same industry. At JLT, we work with our clients to keep them abreast of the latest developments to ensure that they are aware of the available options and are able to adapt quickly,” commented Richard Roper, Managing Director, JLT Benefits Solutions (Asia).
Localisation is key
Localisation of wellness initiatives is critical to success, however, rarely discussed. It is important for HR managers to differentiate between the local cultures and practices and be able to use that information to create programmes and benefits which will appeal to different groups of people. For example, in India, the population is largely vegetarian so it would be unwise to propagate a healthy diet campaign around reducing meat consumption. In Malaysia, a large proportion of the population does not consume alcohol due to religious reasons, hence, it would be less effective to discourage alcohol consumption to reduce calorie intake.
“When we work with clients whose companies are present in multiple geographic territories, we ensure that we fully understand each territory’s predominant culture and common habits. This helps us create workable solutions which our clients’ employees will willingly adopt which, in time, will increase employee engagement and overall productivity”, commented Richard.
This article was produced by Welltodo, in collaboration with JLT.
JLT specialises in providing employee benefits consultancy, insurance placement, health and wellness services to our corporate clients around the world. Our services range from a simple life cover in a single country to designing and implementing a global employee benefits strategy. Our focus is to help our clients manage and reduce their healthcare costs, attract and retain employees and increase productivity by creating a healthier and happier workforce.
If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact Richard Roper, Managing Director, JLT Benefits Solutions (Asia).