Past, Present, Future: How Well-being Will Impact Your Business

May 10, 2023

At Shepherd Insurance, we aim to support you in implementing a successful strategy aligned with improving well-being and population health for your business. Learn more in our most recent online webinar presented by Brittany Nelson as she walks us through where the wellness industry has been, where we currently are, and where it is going.


Watch the Webinar Here:


Brittany Nelson serves as the Director of Population Health & Well-being at Shepherd Insurance. As a Registered Dietitian, Certified Health & Well-being Coach, and with experience providing corporate wellness solutions for diverse populations, she works closely with the Employee Benefits division to enhance clients’ corporate wellness strategies. Brittany specializes in program evaluation and strategy design to ensure the production of goal-oriented results. She believes population health and wellness have the greatest impact when embedded in the corporate strategy and overall culture. Brittany resides with her family in Southern Indiana and supports all Shepherd employees benefit clients nationwide.

Where Corporate Wellness Has Been.

Organizations have historically viewed corporate wellness programs as physical health programs ranging from health risk assessments, biometric screenings, walking, and weight loss challenges. There’s been a mechanistic approach taken where organizational leaders see healthcare as costly and see insurance costs rising. They then think that putting in preventative health programs and calling it “wellness,” and incentivizing their people to participate will change things. This has not been the case, and healthcare costs are continuing to rise, and people are not having improved health. Flashy health and wellness vendors have promised things without much accountability being taken or strategy in place. There’s been so much investment we don’t even know where we’re investing (or incentivizing) anymore.

Wellness or “Well-being” is Individualized, It’s Complex. Employees are Human Beings and Not Robots.

Another historical problem has been that wellness programs have become so siloed outside the organizational goals. What was broken in the workplace, the support of total well-being has not been fixed, and continuously layering wellness program after wellness program, investment, and incentives (money) later have left us with no ROI, no savings, and half-driven programming that HR and other leaders don’t even want to participate in. How do we even know we have been or what is successful?

Where We Are.

Wellness, or physical health programs, have begun focusing on the entire person by starting to see and understand well-being. Well-being is multi-dimensional with different aspects of a person being acknowledged: Their physical, mental, professional, financial, and community well-being all play a role in the work we are doing inside organizations. We’re also beginning to see well-being align with organizational goals and initiatives. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI-B) is one way many companies are beginning to intertwine well-being support within their work environments. We’ve also turned the page from leadership support to leadership alignment and commitment. Cultures have begun to be assessed, and we are looking within before adding to them. Policies are being created, and sub-cultures are being held accountable. Employers are giving employees the knowledge and tools but also the permission and space to be well. We’re understanding that employees don’t want to be overweight or have diabetes. They don’t want to be sedentary or have stressful lives. But their work conditions have supported these behaviors for so long. We’ve started seeing changes to these behaviors in workplaces. Lastly, we’re starting to understand how incentives work so your employees feel you are doing something for them and not to them.

What Shepherd Is Doing with Well-being.

With the support of our population health & well-being and benefits team, we are assessing wellness and population health programs and enhancing the hard work that has been historically trialed. We’re helping our clients know their “why,” create goals, understand their investments before making them, and holding vendors accountable to the promises they have made or plan to make. We are creating strategic designs, so we know we are (or aren’t) successful with what’s most important to us. We’re also accessing data analytics to know what’s driving cost and creating or enhancing program design based on this knowledge. Lastly, we’re helping clients acknowledge the difference between their plan for ROI, VOI (Value on Investment), and ROTI (Return on Time Invested).

Where We Are Going.

It’s important to know that culture will trump wellness every time in your organization. We will begin seeing this and will begin “healing the wound” and creating work to support well-being. We must have a shared mission, vision, and value alignment with our well-being strategies and stop “adding to” and siloing wellness programs. Along with designing work for well-being, you’ll begin seeing mental health embedment and training within the workplace. Examples of this will be managerial and leadership training around empathy, mental health first aid, psychological safety, and more.

More and more insurance carriers are providing “historical wellness program services” at no additional cost as well as portals and apps that members can utilize to navigate the healthcare system and their benefit plan. We’ll continue to see this service utilized to provide additional tools to employees. Health literacy and healthcare navigation will continue to emerge to arm employees and members to be smarter consumers and not be burned yet again by our healthcare system. Finally, we’ll begin seeing employers telling vendors what their specific goals are and then finding the right vendor who can deliver on those goals with guarantees in place for results and/or ROI claims.

Interested in More Information?


If you found this information helpful and are interested in how Shepherd Insurance can help with your insurance needs, contact us or visit our webinar series channel for additional recordings and upcoming events.