The global health & wellness sector is worth R23-trillion annually. If local companies operating in this space want their share of the pie, staff have to know exactly what today’s customers need and expect
In its 2022 Global Health Care Outlook, professional services giant Deloitte says the pandemic, combined with exponential advances in medical science, digital technologies, data access, and analytics, empowered consumers, and a movement from disease care to prevention and well-being are proving to be the catalysts for the clinical, financial, and operational transformation in health care.
Notably, Covid-19 has helped accelerate the development of digital health apps, of which more than 10,000 on the Apple and Google app stores are devoted to mental health issues. Consumers have been adopting these at dramatic rates during the pandemic, Deloitte has found.
Wellness is no longer only about fitness and eating well, but overall physical and mental wellbeing and the different ways these can be achieved.
A 2021 McKinsey study of some 7 500 consumers in six countries found that 79% of respondents believe wellness to be important, while 42% consider it a top priority. Their prioritisation level grew considerably as the pandemic took hold.
The vastly changed landscape has made it essential that health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, medical aid companies and other medical practitioners adapt if they are successfully tap into this lucrative market.
To do so, the onus will be on company owners and managers to ensure everyone within the business structure is aligned with modern expectations of consumers by implementing targeted and dynamic training strategies.
“The global health and wellness industry is now a juggernaut,” says Paul Hanly, co-founder of South African online learning solution provider New Leaf Technologies.
“With more and more South African companies getting on board, it is important that team members be fully prepared to embrace the changes which speak to consumers’ needs. The pandemic has pushed the world into the future a lot faster than anyone expected, especially when it comes to health and wellness.”
Wellness Warehouse, the country’s largest health, wellness and organic food retailer boasting more than 40 physical stores in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, has been an early adopter of customer-focused training strategies.
The company’s Online Shop has become a popular option for shoppers, regularly offering deals and rewards alongside the vast selection of products.
“Keeping our customers safe, inspired and empowered is only achieved through excellence in training. Information changes very quickly in the health and wellness sector and we have to keep abreast of trends, new research and international developments.”
Wellness Warehouse has been a trailblazer in the local industry.
In 2017, the company established its Wellness Training Academy as a means of further improving the customer experience by raising the standards of product and health knowledge across the business.
It achieved this by partnering with New Leaf Technologies.
Through the provision of the aNewSpring learning platform, which enables Learning & Development professionals to create, curate and deliver blended learning that adapts to each individual, New Leaf Technologies was able to assist the Academy to optimise its training and development offering.
In the space of a year the number of Wellness Training Academy team members enrolled in the programme has grown from 150 to 300.
“We started off with the Trainer version of the aNewSpring platform as a pilot project and created our foundational courses on natural health and wellness knowledge with the help of the team at New Leaf,” Hindley explains.
The Wellness Training Academy later transitioned to the Enterprise version of the platform, enabling it to collect data, measure engagement and progress and plan better.
“We saw increases in competency of between 10% and 20% per region, and in some cases over 35% improvement in individual results. We were delighted,” Hindley says.
In addition to new functionality specific to the South African market shortly becoming available in aNewSpring, New Leaf Technologies also offers other products able to enhance training programmes in the health and wellness space.
One of these is dominKnow, a powerful cloud-based easy-to-use eLearning authoring tool that ensures team members no longer need to spend time doing complex and time-consuming programming to achieve many tasks. In future, all New Leaf’s new Learning Management System implementations will include this highly advanced authoring tool for free.
“This new technology is allowing us to improve learner experience and make learning more interesting by
incorporating technology like virtual and augmented reality into the learning journey,” Hanly says.