How Can HR Use Wearable Tech?

As Millennials and Gen Z’s join the workforce in higher numbers, their wearable technology, like fitness trackers, smart watches, and other gadgets tag along into the workplace.  

Talented Millennials and Gen Zs want to work for technology-literate companies and many are already using wearables in their personal life. Wellness programs that feature wearables are more attractive to these young workers.

In 2015 according to e-marketer, almost 40 million over-18 adults in the U.S. used wearable tech, an increase of nearly 58 percent from the previous year. Industry experts expect the trend to continue –nearly 82 million wearable adult users by 2018.

HR professionals are looking into wearable tech in the workplace as a means to promote a healthier lifestyle and monitor safety. But are wearable devices a distraction? A University of London survey by Goldsmiths suggests otherwise. Wearable tech produced an 8.5 percent rise in productivity and a 3.5 percent increase in job satisfaction.


Privacy issues are of great concern to HR managers.

As more and more employees bring personal wearables to work, restrictions must be adopted to avoid inappropriate use at work, corporate data and confidential information collection. Writing a policy that covers what is allowed and what isn’t can dissuade users from download organizational records – a policy that must be enforced.

Devices that record are of concern. A client, co-worker or executive may be recorded without their knowledge. Wearables are much smaller than smartphones and are more easily concealed. Remember to include unambiguous language regarding these issues.

Provide Devices or Give a Discount?

Some organizations have already provided employees with wearables to promote productivity, increase employee health, and decrease healthcare insurance payments. When workers are healthier, their productivity rises.

PruHealth, a private health care company, offers fitness devices as a part of a healthy lifestyle campaign. BP, eBay and PruHealth employees gain perks by exercising. For instance, when BP employees reach a pre-determined number of steps, the company rewards them with lower insurance premiums. Others companies offer a discount off of fitness devices as an incentive.

Are Employees In?

Will employees warm to corporate monitoring of their health conditions, performance and attendance? Organizations who want to implement wearables to track employees need to adopt a firm policy on what and how information is collected and used. Design policies that include assurances that health information will not be held against employees.

If the company goals are healthier employees and lower insurance costs, management can collect data anonymously to reassure employees leery of adoption.

Take a poll. Find out how many will exchange health wearable trackers for perks. But before you adopt wearables for fitness, make sure the device’s data sync with your health portal.

Health problems like diabetes and heart disease can be lowered by incorporating these wearables into an organization’s wellness program. Healthcare costs are growing and every organization that cares about their employees and the bottom line can find a solution in wearable tech.


Tamera Shaw is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. She writes fiction and enjoys amateur photography. She happily shares her life with husband Ron, daughter Cate and sage cat, Sophie, who grudgingly shares her home with the newest member of our family – Nieko, our new kitten.


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