HAL* Yes! Wellness Pros Can Get an AI Boost Right Now

4-minute read

Today’s Artificial Intelligence (AI), like the ChatGPT model that recently went viral, may not live up to either the hype or the fears it evokes. But inevitably its role in wellness leaders’ workflow will be on par, at least, with Google Search.

If you haven’t delved into chatbots yet, an example is the best way to learn what they can do. I share, below, my conversation with ChatGPT and honest assessments of its responses (my only edits are italicizing my questions/comments and bolding key phrases):

What are 4 bullet points I can include to pitch an employee sleep wellness program to executives?

  1. Improved Productivity: Sleep is a crucial component of overall wellness and has a direct impact on employee productivity. A sleep wellness program can improve work performance, decision making, and cognitive function, leading to increased efficiency in the workplace.
  2. Enhanced Workplace Culture: Offering a sleep wellness program can demonstrate a company’s commitment to its employees’ health and well-being, contributing to a positive workplace culture.
  3. Reduced Health Costs: Lack of sleep can lead to numerous health issues, which can result in high healthcare costs for the company. A sleep wellness program can help employees get the rest they need to maintain good health, potentially reducing overall healthcare costs.
  4. Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retention: When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be satisfied with their job and stay with the company longer. A sleep wellness program shows employees that their well-being is important to the company, which can improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover.

Comment: These aren’t ideal; they’re vague and long. But I might adapt the introductory phrases for items 1, 2, and 4 as well as the explanatory text for my talking points. I’d dismiss item 3 unless I could support it with data. The chatbot offers a strong start, compared to the blank page I’d face otherwise, to articulate my own ideas.

What are 2 possible names – 1 clever and 1 serious – for a program on this topic?

  1. Clever: Dream Team: A Sleep Revolution
  2. Serious: Corporate Sleep Wellness Initiative

Comment: Though I don’t like either of these, I can build off the first suggestion and use something like Sweet Dreams for Strong Teams with a tagline such as A Wake-Up Call for More Restful Sleep. They’re not perfect, but better than anything that might come out of, say, a wellness committee brainstorm, while taking only a few seconds to compose.

What kinds of experts can I consult to help me make this an evidence-based program?

To develop an evidence-based sleep wellness program, you may want to consult the following experts:

  1. Sleep Scientists or Sleep Specialists: These experts can provide the latest research and information on sleep and its impact on overall health and well-being. They can also help you design and implement evidence-based sleep interventions.
  2. Occupational Health Specialists: These experts can provide insights into the specific sleep needs of employees and how to address common sleep problems in the workplace.
  3. Human Resources Experts: These experts can offer guidance on how to integrate sleep wellness into your company’s culture and policies, and help you navigate any potential legal and ethical issues.
  4. Health Promotion Professionals: These experts can provide recommendations on how to engage employees in sleep wellness programs and how to evaluate the effectiveness of your program.
  5. Nutritionists and Dietitians: These experts can offer guidance on how to promote healthy sleep habits, such as making dietary changes to improve sleep quality.

Consulting with a multidisciplinary team of experts can help ensure that your sleep wellness program is well-rounded and evidence-based, and that it effectively addresses the unique needs and challenges of your employees.

Comment: I might not consult with each of these specialists — depending on the scope and needs of the program — yet I welcome the reminder to take a multidisciplinary, holistic approach.

Personal Strengths Can Complement AI

As the example illustrates, you can leverage this emerging resource by purposefully composing questions, then drawing on your own strengths to adapt, contemplate, or dismiss AI output.

ChatGPT is an example of text-to-text AI (enter a prompt using plain language and receive a text-based answer). Similar platforms are being released by other companies. Text-to-image platforms (describe an image and AI creates it) are cropping up, too; I used DALL-E 2 to create the image accompanying this blog post. You’ll also find AI-driven presentation software (describe a topic and the software creates your deck).

Judicious Use of AI

You don’t have to jump into AI now; many bugs are still being worked out. But foreseeing the benefits can help you make choices about trying it.

Ultimately, we needn’t view emerging technology as a threat to our job security. In the previous HES blog post, founder and CEO Dean Witherspoon rallies wellness leaders to make bold moves that increase the value we offer our organizations and our profession: “You have the chance, maybe more so than at any other time in your career, to emerge as a leader.”

We can use AI boldly as a tool — not a crutch — to increase the reach, efficiency, and effectiveness of our wellness programs. In doing so, we fulfill our promise to lead.

*Boomers will get the HAL reference from the classic Sci Fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. For everyone else, enjoy this clip.


Bob MerbergBob Merberg
Bob Merberg is an independent consultant with 20+ years in managing employee well-being programs. He specializes in helping employers increase engagement and health outcomes through innovative programs, communication, workplace environment, and organization development strategies. Bob’s well-being program evaluation results have been featured at wellness conferences and in various media outlets.