Data-driven wellbeing: 4 lessons learned from our work with clients

15 April 2024
data-driven wellbeing

In data-driven wellbeing, wellbeing initiatives and policies are driven by insights from data. By collecting and analysing relevant data, organisations gain a better insight into the wellbeing needs of their employees. It also allows you to develop more effective policies. Using measurable KPIs, you can also make a correct assessment of the results and adjust your policies.

4 lessons learned from our work with clients

At Waldon, we are convinced that investing in a data-driven wellbeing policy is a prerequisite for any organisation's success. 
That said, data-driven wellbeing also comes with challenges and pitfalls. These are the key takeaways from our work with clients in the past five years.

1. Wellbeing is a shared responsibility

Research shows that 20% of workers have to contend with mental health issues. A worrying 21% fear that burnout is just around the corner, a figure that inflates to 46% when employees feel that they don't have enough support from their employer. 

No wonder 59% of employees are willing to quit their jobs for a job that offers better working conditions, such as measures to improve their work-life balance and wellness initiatives focussing on burnout.

But there are two sides to every story. 

Research shows that 70% of workers have a predominantly sedentary lifestyle, with less than 150 minutes of exercise per week. This is associated with high rates of overweight or obesity (55%) and sleep disorders (43%). These figures clearly indicate that the responsibility must be shared between the employer and the employee.

Case: Hillewaere 

Find out how we worked with Hillewaere to address their wellbeing challenges with an effective wellbeing programme based on data-driven insights.

Read the case

2. The price of poor wellbeing (it's even more than you think)

Expectations are that there will be approx. 600,000 employees on long-term sick leave in Belgium by 2035 if policies remain unchanged. Research by Attentia has revealed that 10% of working time is lost to absence. 

So think about how much this costs your company annually. It goes without saying that reducing this absence from 10% to 9% can already yield huge savings. 

Research by Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve has shown that wellbeing also has a significant impact on business performance. There is a strong correlation between a company's stock market value and its organisational wellbeing. 

In addition, according to research by CEPR, higher wellbeing is clearly associated with higher productivity, lower staff turnover and even increased customer loyalty.

3. The HR department already has enough on its plate

The growing legal framework for workplace wellbeing is a positive development, highlighting that efforts are also being made at the policy level to improve the working environment. But it also makes things more complex.

Developing and monitoring a well-thought-through wellbeing policy while keeping up with the many legislative changes is an almost impossible task.

Being able to rely on an independent expert who knows all the ins and outs and how to apply the latest developments within your organisation's unique context can take some of the burden off the shoulders of your HR department. 

That way, you can be sure that you always comply with the law. You also increase wellbeing in the workplace with practical solutions that may not always be obvious but really work.

4. One size does not fit all

The main thing we learned in the past few years? 

There is no such thing as a universal solution for a wellbeing policy. If there was such a thing, we would have already developed a standard approach without the need to dive deep into data or personalise solutions. 

In reality, every organisation has its own unique context and nuances, which is why customisation is essential.

So which approach does work?

The scientific approach. 

People often have different interpretations of the concept of wellbeing. For some, this may mean work-life balance or flexible working hours, while others may envisage yoga mats or chakras. 

As a result, the playing field of wellbeing must be clearly defined. We do this with the science-based eyeglass model which we developed together with The Vigor Unit, a spin-off of Ghent University. 

The model, in the form of eyeglasses, divides wellbeing into several dimensions, represented as the lenses of eyeglasses. The left glass represents the collection and analysis of wellbeing data, focussing on physical, mental and social wellbeing. 

Brilmodel Waldon

The right glass focuses on targeted wellbeing initiatives, in particular on sustainable behavioural change and measurability, so that we can track the progress of initiatives and adjust our approach if necessary.

By integrating this model into our strategies, we can offer wellbeing programmes that perfectly match the specific needs of the organisations we work with. 

What does this involve?

How do we proceed? We always start with an analysis of the current situation. 

We collect data in a variety of domains through interviews or surveys to gain a deeper understanding of employees' wellbeing needs. This enables us to identify patterns more quickly and prioritise the right initiatives. 

We then use a set of proven building blocks, based on the eyeglasses model, to develop a customised wellbeing programme that promotes wellbeing within your organisation in the short term and has a positive impact in the long term.

This proven methodology ensures that – although a 'one size fits all' solution does not exist – we can put together an effective and tailor-made wellbeing policy for any organisation with the right mix of elements.

Zorg Vilvoorde

Find out how we implemented a balanced wellbeing programme by highlighting strengths and tackling specific challenges.

Read the case

The conclusion

As an employer, you have to create a healthy working environment and provide employees with the necessary resources and support, such as coaching programmes and health programmes. At the same time, the success of these initiatives also depends on employees and their personal choices. 

Employers and employees need to join forces to improve wellbeing in the workplace. Using data correctly, in a way that is tailored to an organisation's unique corporate culture and individual needs, can make all the difference between an effective wellbeing policy and one that misses the mark.

That said, blindly relying on data without understanding the context can also be misleading. 

So, make sure you interpret data while gaining insight into your specific company culture and the individual needs of employees to implement relevant and effective wellbeing initiatives. The input of an expert is very valuable.

Interested in implementing data-driven wellbeing? Not sure where to start?

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