50 Innovators of the Year 2021
Brad Norris, Managing Director at Synergy Health, started the business in 1999 after completing his master’s degree in Organizational Psychology.
Initially, the company’s focus was on delivering wellbeing workshops, onsite health checks and influenza vaccinations. As larger and more geographically dispersed organizations were seeking the company’s assistance in promoting wellbeing, safety and engagement, Synergy Health invested heavily in developing its online digital platform.
Over the last 15 years, the company has consistently been working on creating a scalable and customizable digital platform that facilitates real behaviour change. The platform delivers a personalised user experience for the employee to maximize engagement. It provides employees with an insight into their wellbeing status, directs them to the most relevant resources based on their needs, enhances motivation through a range of gamified challenges, and rewards them for long term participation.
Synergy Health works with organizations to specifically focus on the behaviors that they want to change or influence.
This allows them to achieve more of their goals.
The company is headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Interview Excerpt: Brad Norris
How uniquely do you address your customers’ pain points? Describe briefly.
Like any initiative, the more we can address the specific needs within an organization, the greater the benefit.
We have built the technology to enable us to deliver market-leading customizationat each layer of our behavior change framework to specifically meet the needs of the organizations we work with:
Awareness: Our Wellbeing Scorecard can be customized with additional questions and responses as selected by the organization. This may include questions relating to safety, culture, job satisfaction or engagement. This means organizations can track metrics identifying behavior change in the areas they are most interested in influencing. Employees’ responses to these questions can also direct them to customized initiatives that will most likely benefit them.
Education: Organizations can build their own customized calendar of initiatives and have specific content added and featured on the platform. This can include content that focuses on key areas the organization most wants to influence. Selected third-party suppliers (e.g. Employee Assistance Program providers, Health Insurers) can add content directly onto the platform within dedicated pages to minimize administrative demands.
Motivation: Organizations can have customized team-based and individual challenges created that specifically address their requirements. This can focus on a specific wellbeing, safety, or organizational development initiative or a topic that meets their broader strategic objectives.
Reward: Organizations have the option of incentivizing participation in existing or customized initiatives with bonus points. Rather than rewarding generic behaviors, organizations can selectively reward those that will most benefit the organization. Organizations can also provide additional rewards to employees based on the points they have earnt participating in the program.
Tell us about your strong reputation for delivering digital platforms.
Given the level of customization Synergy Health can offer, we heavily invest time in determining what unique requirements the organization may have and work tirelessly to deliver on these requirements using the technology we have developed. The company’s consultative approach is an ongoing process and is particularly valuable within a changeable environment like that caused by COVID-19.
Organizations are learning that to have the greatest impact, their wellbeing programs need to be as unique as what they are.
To truly have a positive impact on behavior, they must treat wellbeing like any other behavior change initiative. A more strategic, long-term approach must be taken rather than implementing ad-hoc, off-the-shelf, templated programs.
We are proud to highlight that the average retention rate for our customized clients using our technology is fast approaching 10 years. This is a reflection of the degree of trust we have established and our ability to be able to assist our clients year after year as their needs change over time.
“You’re the only provider that is ‘fit for purpose’, now and into the future. Especially given that we don’t entirely know what our needs are in the future.” — (Government Tax Agency)
“Ensuring relevancy, particularly with specific content for Police, any request made of Synergy Health has been seamless in terms of process, timing and the quality produced is outstanding.” —(Nationwide Police Force)
Discuss more about your affiliated program.
As part of our growth strategy, we are partnering with organizations that want to deliver our unique technology to their clients or customers. We have already partnered with a variety of organizations including workplace wellbeing providers, health insurers, and member-based organizations.
We can supply a platform that contains their brand, brand messaging, and promotes their programs/products while
delivering all the features and benefits we are able to deliver via our unique technology.
In addition, our affiliates share in the revenue generated by any program we implementin partnership with them.
How have you been really helpful to your clients during their crisis?
There has never been such a large focus on health globally in our lifetime. The pandemic has impacted the way we work, live, and play.
This has created a significant strain on our people. Proactive organizations understand that the wellbeing and mental health of the people they support continues to be challenged. In some instances, people have become more isolated and have had to adapt to new ways of working and living. Some are also coping with new financial pressures.
The demands associated with the COVID-19 will result in more organizations needing to invest in the wellbeing, safety, and engagement of their workforce.
With this increased need and new levels of investment, organizations are seeking wellbeing, safety, and engagement programs that produce better and more targeted outcomes than ever before.
Historically, off-the-shelf template wellbeing initiatives have primarily focused on promoting general wellbeing topics e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep. While beneficial, organizations now have a need to implement more sophisticated programs that also have the ability to target the specific behaviors they most want to influence.
For example, this could be promoting collaboration and connectedness across their team, giving the organization’s leadership team more presence and reinforcing their support for wellbeing across the organization, or promoting the organization’s unique values. It may mean supporting a local charity, reinforcing an organization’s unique point of difference in their industry, or educating employees on its supply chain as part of a broader wellbeing initiative. It also
means promoting and delivering programs in a way that is most likely to engage participants across the organization.
Organizations are learning that to truly have a positive impact on behavior, they must treat wellbeing like any other behavior change initiative. A more strategic, long-term approach must be taken rather than implementing ad hoc, off-the-shelf, templated programs.
The pandemic has also reinforced to organizations that the environment can quickly change at any time.
Organizations will be looking for wellbeing solutions that are responsive and can adapt quickly to new organizational requirements. For example, during a lockdown due to the pandemic, users should have easy access and be incentivized to participate in programs that boost their immunity, encourage collaboration, educate them on how to work productively while working remotely and how to best balance any parental responsibilities.
Brad Norris: An Insightful Leader
Brad Norris, founder, serves as the Managing Director of Synergy Health.