millions of Americans have medical care delayed or skipped entirely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Today, as many employees return to the office while others make remote work permanent, employers are recognizing how much their team members have undiagnosed health issues, from high blood pressure to diabetes and beyond.
This hidden health crisis, coupled with a tight labor market, has placed heightened importance on the role of the employer in providing more comprehensive wellness support as a means of attracting and retaining top talent. Increasingly, this means making employer-sponsored biometric testing an essential part of employee benefits.
However, in order to realize the full benefits of biometric testing, it must be done correctly. So what is the responsibility of HR and benefits team members when it comes to implementing biometric testing and exactly What health measures that this test should measure? How can your company offer biometric testing efficiently, with on-site or at-home options, and in a way that motivates employees to take advantage of this benefit?
What is employee biometric testing?
Although the term sounds technical, employee biometric testing is not a medical diagnosis or treatment – this is simply an informative indication of an employee’s current state of health. Biometric testing provides a set of data points that help motivate employees to be more proactive with preventative care.
Biometric testing can help employees identify potential vulnerabilities and underlying health issues that may have been overlooked for months. Checking these benchmarks regularly also helps track changes in these important health indicators.
These biometric screenings can provide early warning against diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and more. This important screening tool sends the message to employees that their organization is invested in their health, which can reduce absenteeism, increase employee retention and potentially lower employer healthcare costs. After all, the goal is not just for your business to have employees, but to facilitate and support in good health employees.
During the pandemic, many companies abandoned on-site biometric testing as employees transitioned to working from home. With an increasing number of people returning to work in offices and factories, returning to work may mean a return to employee testing. And, for employers offering remote or hybrid options to their staff, home testing kits make it easy for employees to be screened safely and comfortably wherever they want.
How to pass the biometric tests?
TIP 1: Make sure your biometric tests are measuring the correct data
Data from biometric tests can trigger behavior change, so HR professionals are increasingly turning to more advanced metrics that can measure the effects of lifestyle changes over time.
Basically, your employees’ tests should include blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar (fasting blood sugar), waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI). Additional levels of testing can provide heart rate variability, ketones, and lipid profiles (LDL, HDL, cholesterol, triglycerides) as well as essential screening for diabetes and colorectal cancer. A comprehensive and actionable data set can help inform proper tracking for employees and employers.
TIP 2: Make good use of your biometric test data
One of the most crucial, and often missing, aspects of biometric testing is tracking the data collected. Without action, this potential goldmine of employee population health information is just another set of numbers in a spreadsheet.
- Make sure each of your employees receives their individual biometric test results so they can follow up with their health care provider and take action if something goes wrong.
- Provide access to board-certified health coaches who can guide employees through their results and make suggestions for lifestyle adjustments based on their screening data.
- Finally, study the aggregated data you receive to get a more complete picture of employee health in your company, then take action. For example, if your aggregated data suggests that your company’s employees tend to be overweight and face worrying levels of diabetes or cholesterol, consider implementing a program to help employees make food choices. healthier products and an incentive program to get employees moving.
TIP 3: Only your employees should know their test results
Without properly communicating the privacy and data protection systems in place to protect test results, biometric testing can be seen as an employer abuse or breach of privacy. Take every opportunity to make it clear that individual biometric health data is private and that no one within the organization has access to employee test results.
Your third-party biometric testing provider should allow each employee access to their own results so that the information can inspire action, such as scheduling a visit with their healthcare provider, making changes for better nutrition, doing more exercise or other health-enhancing measures.
TIP 4: Make biometric testing easy and accessible for your employees
No matter where biometric testing is done, the most essential message is that it is important not to delay regular testing. Although the most reliable results come from onsite testing events, in-home biometric testing and access to offsite labs are an option for employees working remotely.
The more your organization can facilitate the biometric testing process, the more employees are likely to make positive changes to their physical and mental health.
TIP 5: Make biometric testing a regular habit in your business
The biometric test is less useful if it is “one and done”. While gaining insight into vital health information can be helpful in motivating employee follow-up, biometric testing is most constructive when performed regularly – annually or semi-annually.
Regular testing provides a consistent baseline of your employee count, providing more accurate insight into health issues and better facilitating the setting of appropriate targets.
It is an unfortunate fact that only 25% of American employees feel that their employers care about their well-being. When your organization works to show employees that you’re invested in their health and ready to help them make healthy improvements, they’re less likely to seek new employment, less likely to suffer from burnout, and more likely to be engaged while on the job. work.
Adding convenient biometric screenings can be a great tool to help improve the overall health and well-being of your staff. Being proactive in leveraging this data can be a great indicator of your care and concerns. The results? A win-win for employees and their employer.
Dr. Darren White is co-founder and CEO of Aduro, the employee wellness software company based in Redmond, WA. For more information about Aduro, visit https://adurolife.com/solutions/wellmetrics/