2 minute read / RESEARCH

Addressing Social Determinants of Health for an Employee Experience

We worked with a large Minnesota employer to better understand how economic and social conditions influence their employees' health, productivity, satisfaction, and retention.


Understand how social determinants of health impact employees and recommend how to improve the health of employees and how they live, work, and play.


Utilize a trauma-informed research approach to empathetically interview and survey over 1,000 employees to understand how social determinants of health impact various employee groups.

Moments that Matter

Of the employees we interviewed and surveyed, 51% stated that they experienced at least one social determinant of health within the last twelve months. In the survey, employees generally expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to share their experiences but wanted leadership to implement actionable change. They felt that previous attempts were surface-level and never addressed the real issue. Our client needed to understand which determinants acted as barriers and build an activation plan to address how employees wanted assistance with:

  • Health Care Access
  • Food Security
  • Housing Stability
  • Distance Learning + Childcare
Sample Personas of Employees
"We are doing a job, and sometimes you just have to fake it to make it. I enjoy what I do, but some days when you have bills sitting on your shoulders and you've got kids crying - you're just trying to get through the day."
Employee Interviewee


This work uncovered dozens of opportunities to improve the employee experience by addressing key social determinants of health. This included implementing an enterprise-wide living wage increase, an innovative food security program with food delivery provider Hello Fresh, an expansion of daycare benefits, pay on-demand program, and many other improvements. Early pilot programs have shown promising results of these efforts, including a rise in employee NPS and double-digit decreases in reporting of key factors such as food insecurity. 

Key Deliverables

Quantitative Research | Insights | Design Principles | Concepts | Employee Experience Strategy