Strategically Planning for Millennials in your Wellness Program

Millennials are those born in the early 1980s up to the early 2000s. According to the US Census Bureau Population Estimate in April 2016, millennials are fast becoming the biggest percentage of the workforce and a leading influence on the employers’ health plans and employee wellness programs.  Nine out of ten millennials have health insurance and 85% of them are employed. *

The major personal concerns for millennials are financial health, work life balance, and flex time to achieve personal goals. ** These concerns are very different from the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers that are worried about their overall physical health.  Offering financial wellness education and resources are just the start. Engaging the millennials in these wellness programs takes planning, strategy, and targeted marketing. Consider this demographic tends to be more tech savvy, more apt to share their information with a wellness vendor, and they adapt quickly to change.  Thus using technology driven plans could make these offerings more accessible to the employee 24/7.

For example, if you offer financial webinars and educational tools either online or through a vendor’s phone app the employee will be able to utilize these tools from home and maybe share with their spouse and dependents thus increasing engagement. Flex time is also important to this generation and it is seen as a benefit when recruiting new employees or used for employee retention.

In a study done by WebMD, most millennials believe that they are healthy and 72% report that they exercise at least twice a month.  When exercising, they are not as interested in the regular gym reimbursements to the national chain fitness centers like the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. There is a rise in the boutique fitness classes such as cycling, Crossfit, boot camps, yoga studios, Barre classes, etc.  To incentivize the use of these programs takes some out of the box thinking. There are a few vendors that specialize in this, Peerfit and Classpass, that allow the employer to bank funds for any participating fitness class and this provides flexibility to try new workouts and not be locked into a contract.

In regards to nutrition, they want convenience and fresh ideas. Try offering fresh produce at the worksite, offering access to a nutrition coach, posting links to wellness webinars, or incentivizing wellness competitions with a two week subscription to a meal plan services such as Blue Apron or Hello Fresh.

In this shift of demographics, the millennials will have a long term lasting effect on your business, your health insurance premiums, and your wellness programs.  Stay ahead of the curve with proper planning and don’t be technology-shy since 92% of millennials are interested in digital health technologies compared to 46% for baby boomers.

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