The role of the employer in personal health is on the rise, and good companies know it

Steven Zinsli

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

29 April 2024

The tide is shifting, whether your view is that it is coming in or going out .. one thing holds true, the working environment is rapidly changing. The emergence of new generations of the workforce, Gen Z and Millenials to be specific has meant organisations have had to rethink old hard coded practises from decades gone by.

Throw in a good dose of COVID-19 to change the way we work, and then add in the current cost of living crisis to sprinkle some additional dust on the already sliding landscape of employee experience and engagement then you have a very dynamic environment to attract and recruit talent.

International data points to an obvious shift in priority for the emerging workforce. Benefits In most cases, beyond salary increases are halding much more weight to the employee. A recent HealthNow research report stated 78% of employees believe their employers care about their health, also say they’re thriving and also 56% of Gen Z employees and 45% of Gen X employees stay with their employer due to health benefits they receive.

The challenge facing many organisations is how to structure these news incentives and benefits, balancing costs with the demands of new and existing employees. HealthNow has been working with its customers on ways to bucket the benefit tiers and more intentionally map them to the budgets and culture of the organisation. We have defined these buckets as ‘Musts, needs and wants’ and these are helping cut through the noise of rebuilding health and wellbeing initiatives.


These are the bottom of the cliff support mechanisms most good companies provide to their employees in the modern era, think EAP Mental health support, flexible sick leave, and in many cases more generous provisions for parental leave. These are at the primary end of health for most individuals, where they have very little choice and often can be disadvantaged without the support of their employer.


These are beginning to tread into more of an optional category for many employers, but they are becoming more commonplace for good companies looking to differentiate themselves in the talent market and retain the good people they have. These are non-luxury items but can have an outsized impact on employee health and engagement. Allowances for things like dentistry, physios or chiropractors that sometimes are not entirely covered by ACC or other government schemes and more proactive health treatments like lab tests or other functional medical services. These are increasingly appearing on the list of support and benefits for forward thinking companies.


These are the discretionary nuggets of spend that are more a ‘vitamin’ than a ‘painkiller’. Everyday we see organisations wanting to fund nutrition advice and programs, contribute to gym membership and other fitness pursuits like marathons and events, or even stretch to funding yoga classes or massage therapy. There is an endless list of ‘wants’ and organisations need to be able to clearly define the appropriate definition of this sort of budget. They look to be as flexible and inclusive as they can, with their business values and culture in mind. Often this means an ‘exclusion’ approach is taken, where sectors like alcohol, gambling and firearms are excluded but everything else that can be considered on a spectrum of wellness to an individual is enabled.

To Conclude

As the modern workforce not only demands more from their employer in the health and wellness space, believing that as an organisation’s most valuable asset they should be treated as such. Any business with assets like machinery or vehicles invests in preventive maintenance of their equipment to get the most out of it and minimise the possible risks of breakdowns and expensive repairs. The same should be considered of an organisations people.

To effectively deliver on musts, needs or wants depending on where your organisation views the level of support and the role it wants to play in supporting its people, you must find a solution that can simply deliver an equitable outcome that operates within the guard rails of the organisation. HealthNow is that solution, giving you a simple mastercard for the employees to spend the allowance provided in the sectors the organisation has chosen to enable, or not in the sectors they may have excluded. This means they can access musts, like doctors when they are sick, at their own GP, in their own community when they need it. Or they can schedule dentists appointments when they haven’t been in years if a more ‘needs’ based approach is taken. Or for more open minded organisation, employees may choose to spend their HealthNow funds on weekly gym memberships or other activities to support a happier and healthier life. The choice is theirs, supported by their good company.