Raising the Standard of Women’s Health through tailored Employee Benefits

Raising the Standard of Women’s Health through tailored Employee Benefits

Women experience many transitions during a lifetime: Puberty, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause… These transitions have a huge impact on a woman’s overall health and well-being, and most of them take place during the prime years of our careers.

Unfortunately, most women today do not receive sufficient practical education as to what to expect, nor personalized resources to address symptoms and prevent them from turning into serious health problems. Incontinence, chronic pelvic pain and back pain, pregnancy and birth related injuries, postpartum recovery, chronic fatigue after maternity, and endometriosis, among many others, are common issues.

The Health Needs of Female Employees are Different to Those of Men

The number of women in today's workforce is growing and a new generation of female graduates have already outnumbered their male counterparts. Women are leading companies and filling key positions and it's more important than ever for organizations to truly understand and support their health needs, particularly around maternity and postpartum. Although there are many existing wellness solutions ranging from gym memberships to nutrition challenges, they often fail to ask the right questions or address the right health concerns that are exclusive to women.

Tailoring benefits to address the specific needs of employee populations is becoming an important trend. Providing wellness and preventive health solutions that address women’s most pressing health concerns - especially during these transitional periods- is not only ethically right, but also the best way to establish an inclusive and supportive corporate culture while reducing costs on medical bills, productivity, dropout rates and absenteeism. Independently of whether a company offers 12 weeks paid maternity/parental leave or not, the company culture and its stance around women’s and maternal health plays a key role in securing an optimal return to work for women.

Digital Tools can help gear Wellness Policies towards Prevention, Personalization and Inclusion

Additionally, now that we are seeing the rise of the "quantified self", digital health solutions are playing a pivotal role in shifting our understanding of healthcare from the “sick-care” status quo to a preventive “health-care” approach. They are proving huge potential both in providing early detection mechanisms, and in helping individuals stay committed and engaged in their own health through tailored recommendations, daily habits and symptom tracking.

These solutions are also garnering success in addressing “unspoken issues” from women’s intimate health, to emotional and mental health problems, as they provide a safe environment to ask questions and understand your symptoms before further seeking help. Due to the taboo nature of these topics, we are just starting to see the results from early research studies conducted on these areas and will soon have a more accurate picture of the economic impact on an organization’s bottom line, and on the healthcare sector at large. For example, it has been estimated that incontinence will cost +80B dollars annually to the US healthcare system by 2020 - with all its stakeholders combined, from insurers to employers.

An Opportunity for Employers

Employers that succeed at shifting their mentality around the costs of healthcare from burden to growth opportunity will take a leading role in this transformation. I believe that byoffering better preventive health and wellness resources to their female employees, companies have an opportunity not only to lower some of their healthcare related costs and increase employee satisfaction, but also to raise the standards of women’s health, maternal support and inclusion in the US at large.

30 Oct 2018

By B-Wom