Technology continues to transform the landscape of employee benefits. Apps, in particular, have revolutionised the way organisations provide benefits to their workforce.
From seamless access to health and wellness support to personalised financial planning tools, these applications are reshaping the delivery of employee benefits, helping to foster a happier and more engaged workforce through the use of cutting-edge technology – even including artificial intelligence (AI).
Here are just some of the apps making an impact on a range of areas within the benefits realm.
In January 2023, meditation and mindfulness platform Headspace announced its integrated solution for personalised mental health support would be expanding to the UK. A collaboration with digital therapy provider Ginger, the Headspace platform aims to “democratise mental healthcare for employees”, combining mindfulness tools with coaching, therapy and employee assistance programme (EAP) services. The stepped-care model offers self-guided activities and behavioural health coaching.
Currently, Headspace provides mental health and wellbeing solutions for more than 4,000 global enterprise and health plan partners. Clients range from Starbucks, Adobe, Unilever, Deloitte and PWC, through to health plans such as Vitality.
EMMA is an artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistant developed by workplace mental health platform Plumm. It offers 24/7 support, empathy and guidance for mental health and personal growth through text-based conversations.
Unlike traditional chatbots, EMMA engages in natural, empathetic dialogue using advanced sentiment analysis and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques. Through integration with Microsoft Teams and Slack, EMMA provides immediate help with stress and anxiety during work hours. It can also be accessed outside of working hours via Plumm’s web and mobile apps, providing non-judgmental support and empathy on a range of mental health concerns.
Available online and as an app, the Maven Clinic offers support for women’s and family health, providing clinical, emotional and financial support across fertility, pregnancy, parenting, paediatrics and menopause journeys.
Offered as an employee benefit by companies including Microsoft, L’Oreal and Bumble, the platform is accessible through Maven’s employer and health plan clients. Eligible users enrolled through these partnerships can access the full range of services. For others, a scaled-back version is available, offering appointment booking, educational resources and community forums.
Founder Kate Ryder started Maven in London in 2014, partly as a result of her own medical frustration and trauma after suffering a miscarriage.
Unum’s wellbeing app Help@hand aims to provide comprehensive support for insured employees (Unum group income protection, group life and group critical illness policyholders) as well as eligible family members. The app offers mental health support, 24/7 remote GP appointments, physiotherapy and medical second opinions. The service also offers a 360 wellbeing score following four short assessments, unlocking one-to-one lifestyle coaching to support improvements. In addition, an integrated EAP, retail savings, legal and financial guidance and on-demand wellbeing content are all provided.
Further expanding its support, Unum has integrated cancer services for group critical illness customers. Users appear to have embraced the app, booking almost 37,000 appointments in the six months to June 2023.
The Brandwidth employee app is designed to promote engagement and wellbeing, and features a fully customisable and re-skinnable interface for tailoring to specific organisations.
Utility features on the app aim to centralise vital information, including contact details, birthdays, holidays and working locations. There is also integration of HR tools, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and personal calendars.
The engagement features on the app aim to foster a positive culture by encouraging connection. ‘Boosts’ allow team members to reward each other and share messages. ‘Shout-outs’ empower employees by allowing anonymous feedback for leadership teams. Micro-surveys, meanwhile, gauge daily check-ins and mood, supporting environmental impact awareness and monitoring overall wellbeing.
MyView PayNow, a workplace finance platform launched by Zellis in collaboration with Wagestream, offers pay visibility, flexibility and savings tools through a dedicated app. Employees can access financial support, manage budgeting, choose flexible pay options, build rainy-day funds and receive free guidance.
The platform extends the MyView self-service HR portal, allowing employers to provide financial wellbeing support at the point where employees are already used to accessing their pay and HR information.
According to Zellis, the launch of the app in July 2023 enabled over five million workers to access the financial tools and support and allowed over a third of FTSE100 companies to offer flexible pay.
Cushon provides employers with a tool to enhance and encourage workplace saving among staff. Through a mobile app, employees can access personalised pension and savings products, managing their finances according to their goals and values.
With integration into payroll and benefit platforms, Cushon’s “workplace-centric” approach is designed to provide easy access for all employees. The app offers a way to save directly from pay into pensions, ISAs and other financial products, with the aim of empowering employees to achieve financial and retirement objectives.
Benefits for all
Pirkx is a technology platform aiming to make wellbeing benefits affordable and accessible to all – including SME businesses, the self-employed, contractors and gig workers.
According to Pirkx, only 9% of the 3.2 billion global workforce has access to corporate wellbeing benefits, so the platform aims to provide a membership package with access to the kind of benefits only usually available to employees of big corporations.
The Pirkx app offers more than 40 wellbeing benefits spanning health, wealth and education. These include on-demand GP services, 24/7 counselling and mental health support, more than 2,500 cashback deals and shopping discounts at major retailers, discounted gym membership, and skills training courses.