The Well-Being Journal

Joe Coughlin: Disruptive Demographics: Engaging the New Customer

Jennifer Rudloff

Today’s consumer is changing; the way people connect with the world around them, how they gather information, who they trust, and what motivates their decisions is vastly different than it was 5-10-15 years ago. A technologically savvy aging population is turning to the web for health information; they’re searching beyond experts and finding trusted health support in the company of strangers in online communities.

During the webcast, Joe Coughlin discussed trends in online health information and highlighted the characteristics, expectations and demands of today’s consumers. His research reveals that older consumers are confident, information seeking, and educated, and they believe they are directly responsible for their own health. Coughlin identified 7 prevalent behaviors people have when online today:

  1. Find information
  2. Define the problem
  3. Identify a range of acceptable and affordable solutions
  4. Frame questions to clinicians
  5. Validate decisions/treatments
  6. Reinforce behaviors
  7. Seek social support

While online health may not be formal care, it is a part of how people make critical health choices, use formal advice, and adopt healthy behaviors. Smart companies will accept this as fact, see it as an opportunity and adapt.

  • Insurers, your people are online and actively seeking information; you have the opportunity to engage them in a new and comfortable environment. Use it. Drive conversations away from quick fix solutions and engage people to make sustained lifestyle changes. Speak in a language that resonates with people, not healthcare professionals.
  • Employers, your employees perceive work to be a barrier to their health and wellness, and feel they do not have the facilities or support necessary to be healthy and productive in the workplace. Change their tone. Give people online tools, support, and the incentives they need to be healthy and productive in the workplace.

The success of well-being initiatives depends on the ability of leaders to adapt. In this fast paced digital age, it’s necessary to be agile and adjust strategies to effectively motivate and sustain connections with your people. In the end, your people (and your bottom line) will thank you.

To view this or other presentations from the webcast event, click here.

Topics: Business Performance Well-Being Index Events

The Connected Consumer: Key Insights

Jennifer Rudloff

During a three hour webcast packed with a series of 20 minute power sessions, The Connected Consumer delivered insights and strategies on drivers of well-being, motivation, and engagement and provided a glimpse into the innovations that will define the next generation of programming around health and well-being.

There were lots of great takeaways from this webcast, but to give you a glimpse into each presentation, here’ a list of some of our favorite insights from each speaker:

  • Talk to your employee or insured’s, not past them. Language Matters. Use terms that resonate with end users. Functionality and solutions, these are things that employees are thinking about.
  • Beliefs and behaviors are contagious; who you hang out with impacts your health. You’re only as healthy as your group or network. For greater outcomes and sustained benefits we need to treat our groups as a system of health and well-being.
  • Go beyond offering incentives, and consider the power of fun! Games linking friends to good behaviors, friendly competition – this is the key to successful engagement.
  • People as they age tend to have a positivity bias towards only looking at the positive. You have to talk in terms of benefits rather than warning labels.
  • Engagement and reinforcement often rely not just on classic incentives but also a sense of belonging to a group. Health is not only a rational discussion: it is emotional and key to who we are, who our families are, and to the social group to which we belong.
  • People want to be spoken to in segments of one. Creatively mix reinforcements and incentives and personalize to improve and sustain engagement.

To replay your favorite presentations or share them with colleagues, visit

Topics: Ideal Work Environment Business Performance Well-Being Index Best Work Environment Employee Performance Improvement Events

Optimism in America

Jennifer Rudloff

We’re all evaluated at one point or another in our lives. Whether it’s on tests we take or projects and presentations we create, evaluation is a constant part of our lives. Sometimes, though, we fail to stop and evaluate one of the most important things — life.

There are many important questions we must stop and ask ourselves about our own well-being in life, like: How are we doing in our relationships? How is our health? Are we living our lives to their fullest potential? By evaluating these areas and improving just one area of our lives, we can prompt improvements in other areas as well.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® (WBI), when Americans evaluate life, 54% classify themselves as thriving. The Cantril Scale asks those surveyed to imagine a "ladder" with steps numbered 0 (worst possible life) to 10 (best possible life). The "thriving" group (steps 7-10 on Cantril Scale) indicates that they expect to stand on step 8 or higher five years from now. An important takeaway here is that over half of Americans, when reflecting on their present and future lives, see themselves as “thriving.”

So while work environment, basic access and all areas of health remain subpar, life evaluation sits higher and generally steadier per the WBI. Regardless of the economy and other events happening between 2008 and 2011, a majority of Americans still remain optimistic about their future.

Reader Question: What makes you most optimistic about the future?

Topics: Re-election Health Well-Being Index Optimism Total Well-Being wellbeing health wellbeing and health Internal Reflection

Does your company have a Chief Well-Being Officer?

Jennifer Rudloff

When people ask me about my job, the description is often met with surprise. Chief Well-Being Officer is not a common position in today’s C-Suite – and I think that’s a mistake. I can think back to a time not that long ago when the concept of a Chief Technology Officer was foreign; thought to be a “creative” title commissioned only by the Googles and Sun Microsystems of the world. Yet today, the absence of a CTO is almost unthinkable.

I challenge companies to think differently about the health of their employees, their most valuable asset. Research shows that employee well-being can play a key role in establishing a competitive business advantage. For instance, while 30 percent of a company’s healthcare spend is linked to medical care and pharmaceutical costs, the remaining 70 percent is spent on health-related costs associated with worker productivity (Spector, Bruce. The Cost of Absenteeism in the Workplace. Nov. 1, 2010. The research also demonstrates that companies with effective health and productivity programs generate more revenue per employee, attain a higher market value and generate higher shareholder returns.

The impact doesn’t just positively hit a company’s bottom line ... you must take into consideration the top-line benefits that coincide with a focus on well-being. Employers that focus on prevention, provide value-added benefits and demonstrate that they care about their employees’ physical and emotional needs are more likely to attract and retain top talent. They are also more likely to earn and maintain employee trust and foster a productive environment through a high performing, engaged workforce. Bottom line: these companies are more likely to succeed.

The job of a Chief Well-Being Officer is to focus on how employees can be impacted at work, at home and in the community and how this impact can improve the overall business performance.

At Healthways, we understand the importance and value of maintaining happy and healthy employees.

Yes, happy employees are good for business ... just ask the Chief Well-Being Officer.

Topics: Strategies and Comparative Advantage Business Performance Competitive Advantage Prevention Motivation How to Improve Employee Performance Employee Performance Improvement

2011 Healthways Well-Being Summit Recap

Jennifer Rudloff

This year’s annual Well-Being Summit sought to, as Ben Leedle, Healthways President and CEO said, “motivate and provide solutions and tools to get attendees started on the path to positively impact the health and well-being of millions of people.” The three-day Summit shed key insights on well-being by some of today’s most accomplished and progressive thinkers. Attendees left the Summit with new solutions and tools brought to them by world renowned speakers, such as Deepak Chopra, Daniel Pink, Dan Buetnner, and Nicholas Christakis, to name a few.

Elaborating on such topics as higher consciousness and how that consciousness affects our lives and well-being, Deepak Chopra gave attendees a better understanding of the body as a process rather than a structure (Replay Deepak's talk). Examining the way we motivate our employees, Daniel Pink opened up our audience to a new way of thinking that better engages employees and provides them with purpose for increased motivation and workplace well-being.

The audience was also enlightened with secrets to living a longer life by focusing on natural physical activity, having the right outlook and sense of purpose, eating wisely, and connecting with others from Dan Buettner (replay Dan's talk). Nicholas Christakis shed light on how physical social networks, though smaller than online social networks, had a greater influence on behavior and overall well-being.

Inspired, our attendees embraced these tools from the speakers and were charged with insights that would allow them to develop solutions and tools to begin their path of spreading well-being to their employees, friends, families and communities.

Our third annual Well-Being Summit was a true success, ending on the high note with the announcement of a $15,000 donation from Healthways to REAL School Gardens. This donation will help the organization, currently in 74 Texas schools, move forward with its plans of national expansion.

See pictures and replay video from the 2011 Healthways Well-Being Summit.

Register now to receive updates for the 2012 Healthways Well-Being Summit.

Topics: Well-Being Index Events

Daniel Pink: Employee Engagement and Changing the World of Work

Jennifer Rudloff

Well-Being Summit participants heard best-selling author Daniel Pink speak on employee engagement and changing the world of work on Tuesday. Considering the decline in workplace well-being over the past few years, Pink talked about how workplace well-being can be improved through several key changes - the single greatest being motivation.

People spend half of their waking hours at work - disengaged. Because our well-being is formed while we are awake, our well-being at work is integral to our overall well-being. When people are disengaged, they're not motivated - and this leads to lower levels of workplace well-being.

Increasing, enlivening, and enriching the workplace improve the system of motivation within the workplace. By giving employees context for their work, room to grow within their own interests in the workplace, and allowances to move beyond the day-to-day work they conduct, well-being in the workplace will improve and overall well-being will too.

Topics: Well-Being Workplace Well-Being Employee Well-Being Health Well-Being Index Motivation wellbeing health wellbeing and health Health in the Workplace work motivation Events Employees Motivation No Motivation Lack of Motivation

Deepak Chopra: Healing Transformation & Higher Consciousness

Jennifer Rudloff

Deepak Chopra kicked off Tuesday’s activities at the Well-Being Summit, inspiring the crowd with his speech about healing transformation and higher consciousness. Consciousness, he said, affects our daily life and our well-being influences the people around us.

Chopra quoted, “No man can step into the same river twice; for he is always a different man and it’s always a different river.” One’s body is never the same in any moment of time – the body you are sitting with now is not the same physical body you had ten minutes ago. This, he said, is how we must think of our bodies – not as a structure, but as a process.
Simply, our bodies are not a noun, but a verb. Our bodies are more than just eating, breathing, dissecting, metabolism, eliminating and sensory experiences. Our bodies are also about our thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, drives, imagination and sense of self.

By understanding our bodies as a process, we can better grasp the concepts of awareness and consciousness and how they play vital roles in our well-being. All of life, Chopra said, is awareness and consciousness. Awareness is the best tool for measuring and influencing well-being; consciousness creates reality.

Consciousness allows us to see the field of possibilities in front of us, and awareness of these possibilities influences our well-being. Your happiness, therefore, impacts others’ happiness because you are the reality around them – and furthermore, the happiness of the people you don’t know impacts you. It is not just one or two people that influence your happiness, but instead, there are several people who are engaged in your well-being and influence your happiness. We are then entangled in each other’s lives, without even knowing we are, and this entanglement spreads, influencing everyone around us.

Topics: Healthy Living Mental Health Well-Being Body Consciousness Health Well-Being Index wellbeing health Key to Happiness Events Consciousness Happiness Mental Consciousness Finding Happiness