01/ 12/ 2023

HealthKick’s 2022 Wellness Benefits Trends Report: How to Win with Employees in 2023

One of the fundamental shifts of the pandemic is employees’ increased reliance on and expectations of their employer for their health and wellbeing. In fact, 60% of employees say well-being support will be a top priority when they apply for their next job (HR Morning). Employers who are in step with what employees want from their health and wellness benefits will be at an advantage in what continues to be a tight labor market.

HealthKick’s newly released 2022 Wellness Benefits Trends Report report based on user behavior data from 2022, offers key insights into employee wellness behavior and trends and actionable takeaways on how employers can meet those needs through their wellness benefit strategy in 2023. 

We’ll cover:  

  • Key wellness trends from 2022
  • Employees’ mindset shifts toward personal wellbeing 
  • What this means for employer benefits strategy in 2023
  • Easy changes to meet employees needs now

2022 Trend Highlights: 

Fitness & Nutrition Focus

Mental health may have been the buzz word in 2022, but HealthKick member data reveals that fitness and nutrition rank as employees’ top areas of focus for their personal wellbeing going into 2023. Among HealthKick members surveyed, 49% cited fitness, and 22% identified nutrition as their top health & wellness priority for this year. 

HealthKick data further substantiates this user behavior with Sweat (fitness) and Nourish (nutrition) categories representing 69% of all member services utilized in the past 12 months. The greatest growth is in utilization of fitness services, which grew by 11% in 2022. Of note, in-person fitness represented 60% of all fitness services utilized on the HealthKick platform, as behavior returns to pre-pandemic norms. 

Moving for Mental Health 

Members’ focus on fitness and nutrition doesn’t mean that mental health isn’t top of mind. It’s well known that physical activity contributes to improved mental health, but historically, weight loss and maintaining a certain physique topped users’ reasons for exercising. 

Significantly, member data shows that engaging in fitness to reduce stress was a top motivator for employees to exercise in 2022. This not only signifies a mindset shift from a pre-pandemic focus on weight loss, but also highlights the importance of physical activity as integral to supporting employees’ mental health. 

This sentiment is especially prevalent among Gen-Zers according to a survey by Garage Gym where 43% of Gen-Z respondents identified mental health as one of their top reasons for working out. As noted by one HealthKick member “I feel strongly that exercise improves our disposition, prevents depression and generates energy.”

Beyond mental health, longevity is another top member objective versus achieving a certain physique. HealthKick members surveyed noted that they worked out to ensure a “strong, healthy body”, “optimal life” and longevity”, consistent with 78% of Garage Gym survey respondents saying that “overall health” is their primary fitness motivator. The focus on long-term health goals versus short-term quick fixes illuminates another key mindset shift in 2022.

Convenient Nutrition Resources for Hybrid & Remote Work 

The spike in usage of meal, grocery, and meal prep services during the pandemic has not only sustained but grown in 2022. The rise of remote and hybrid work setups has changed the way people eat with home cooking (and at-home snacking) becoming the norm. 

Employees seek access to practical and accessible healthy food options- healthy prepared food and meal kits provide a convenient, hassle free way to eat healthy while working at home. 

The Nourish category represented 38% of all purchases by HealthKick members, and 5 out of the top 10 brands used by HealthKick members were meal kits.

This emphasis on a healthier relationship with food and fitness is set to continue with a move away from fad diets and unsustainable lifestyles to prioritizing strength and long-term health over quick results. 

Whole Person Health for Optimized Wellbeing 

HealthKick members surveyed identified self-care as their top goal for 2023- ahead of mental health. This signifies that employees perceive mental health as one aspect of their holistic wellbeing, part of a larger trend toward addressing the wellbeing of the whole person.

Members are seeking ways to improve all aspects of their health and wellness – physical, mental, emotional and personal. The diversity of Thrive services utilized highlights the range of resources employees leverage to promote their wellbeing. Coaching and group classes and programs represent 43% of Thrive resources utilized reflecting the trend toward services that facilitate in-person interaction and human connection.  

Recovery services, including physical therapy, stretch, infrared sauna, cryotherapy notably represents 24% of Thrive services utilized reinforcing the mindbody connection.  Employees’ pursuit of holistic wellbeing has also given rise to significant usage of health testing and digital health services.

Employees are becoming increasingly conscious of not only how they care for their bodies inside and out, and the effect it has on not only their physical health but also the effect on their mental wellbeing and overall happiness. The numbers on the scale are no longer the primary driver for employees to engage in healthy behavior, but rather the pursuit of feeling good.  

What does this mean for employers in 2023?

1. Lifestyle spending accounts vs. gym reimbursements

As employees embrace whole person wellness, gym reimbursements are limiting. 62% of employees want more control over their benefits while 74% of members surveyed said an employer wellness stipend would most help them achieve their wellness goals in 2023. Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs) or wellness stipends offer more flexibility and control for employees and allow employers to support a diverse global workforce with different wellness needs. 

2. Benefits for hybrid and remote workforces vs. on-site 

63% of employers offer their employees a hybrid work setup and 25% of all professional jobs will be remote by 2023.1 The days of office lunches, unlimited snacks and on campus gyms are less relevant in the WFH and hybrid setup. Employers need to reach employees where they are at, whether it’s subsidizing healthy meals, providing an at-home office stipend, or other resources accessible to employees both in the office and working from home. Forbes

3. A Whole Person approach to Mental health 

While mental health apps and coaching resources support mental health, to effectively address employee mental health, employers must also offer options for employees to stay active, eat better and take on a whole mind/body focus that is accessible to their lifestyles. Employers must also look at the root cause of stressors in employees’ lives- from caretaking responsibilities to personal finance management and offer solutions that can address those specific pain points. 

4. Benefits navigation is more important than ever.  

If employees can’t find their benefits, they can’t benefit from them. As employers add new benefits, communicating the right benefits to the right individuals is paramount.  If benefits are listed as links on the intranet site, there is a low likelihood they will be highly utilized. Providing a single location for all benefits and wellbeing information like HealthKick’s wellness benefits platform can significantly increase employee engagement in their health and wellness. 

5. Multi-pronged Communication 

A multi-pronged communication strategy that embeds wellbeing into all aspects of the organization ensures benefits and resources are not only shared at certain times of the year but continually communicated through multiple mediums all year long for maximum reach. From monthly benefits emails to town halls, ERGs, and empowering managers to educate and inform their teams, integrating benefits into the daily operations of the business ensures employees will not only know what is offered but are more likely to take advantage of them.


If mental health defined 2022, whole person health is the theme for 2023. Driven by a need to have more control over their own wellness journey, members show a heightened interest in exploring new wellness routines, activities, and services. With more employees looking to their employer to support their health and wellness, employers have an opportunity to have a more impactful role in the wellbeing of their workforce than ever before. By making healthy living about exploration, not expectations, and providing seamless, culturally-relevant offerings across every aspect of wellbeing, so that each employee can easily discover the practices that move them, employers have the ability to inspire individuals to embrace lifelong healthy habits that fit their diverse interests and lifestyles. 

Are you crafting your benefits plan for 2023, looking for new ways to engage employees in wellbeing in 2023, or attracting and retaining top talent? HealthKick is here to help, click here to book a demo with our employee wellness team!

Footnote: *Results based on HealthKick platform usage data from over 50k members and 234 member survey responses.

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