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12 Jan 2024
by Dawn Lewis

Karen Sancto of Microsoft on engaging employees with digital health tools

Selecting the right digital health tools that employees need and will engage with is not easy, but the potential benefits far outweigh the challenges

Karen Sancto of Microsoft on engaging employees with digital health tools.jpg


Digital services can help employees find the solution they need faster, but they need the training and navigation to help them to do it, outlined Karen Sancto, Senior Benefits Specialist EMEA at Microsoft.

Speaking on the How digital change will transform workforce wellbeing and engagement REBA webinar on 27 September 2023, Sancto, said that like all businesses, Microsoft is going through digital transformation, and so employees are being trained to understand these developments. Yet this also applies to the health and wellbeing tools and benefits that employees have access to.

“In terms of communication, in this digital age, it’s a real challenge to ensure that every employee and manager is aware of all the resources, helplines, toolkits, and conversation guides, that exist. There’s a lot out there,” said Sancto. “We’re constantly reviewing how to engage with our employees.”

This is where digital tools can help. Since the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a digital acceleration and Sancto said that there is now greater use of virtual GP services, for example. But there are also more virtual solutions to support health and wellbeing coming into play to meet changing employee demand.

“Whether it’s fertility, family planning, new parents support, menopause, etc, online engagement is readily available for the convenience of our employees and their family members. Not just restricted to the office, during working hours,” she said.

Sancto believes that there are real positives for offering online and virtual services, not least the data that employers and health providers can collate from these interactions. “The data is richer, we’re getting more from it the deeper we dive into it,” she added.

Yet she cautioned that employers need to consider whether virtual interaction suits everyone. Digital services can help employees find the right solution they need faster, but they need the right training and navigation to help them to do it. 

“We need to find a solution to do that at scale. At the moment, the supply is not going to meet demand, but we’re going get better at tailoring to different circumstances, and the research we’re doing and the data we’re pulling, is going to get those solutions quicker,” she said.

Selecting digital solutions

When it comes to selecting and buying benefits products, Sancto says that the choice on the market can be overwhelming. Knowing what will be effective and engage employees is not an easy task. Here are her tips to help narrow the choice:

  • Look at your demographic – think about the diversity of your workforce and what you’re trying to solve. Tools should be accessible and inclusive, but can also apply to different communities within the workforce.
  • Reputation and expertise – what’s behind the app or digital solution? It needs to be credible and what they’re offering has to have suitable network coverage.
  • Data – how this is presented, its integrity and compliance are essential.

“Don’t rush into anything. Look for that reputation, look for that expertise and really look for the problem you’re trying to solve,” she said.