Ready, steady, go! How to select an outsourced wellbeing provider

The process of selecting your wellbeing provider is an exciting one, but like any vendor selection it’s easy to get carried away with all the shiny stuff, the promises and the people. That made us at PepTalk think about, how can we help you make the best selection for your organisation? Cause maybe it’s PepTalk, or maybe it’s not.

Our experience tells us that people tend to make the best decisions for their organisations when they know what they are solving for, know what they are willing to compromise on and what equally is non-negotiable. Below are some bullet points for you to think about before or while you are selecting your workplace wellbeing vendor :

#1. The program & the solution

Science behind the solution :

It may sound obvious, but will want to ensure that your vendor is firstly qualified (or uses qualified people) to design and deliver your program. There needs to be solid science behind program design and delivery. It is very natural for vendors who specialise in one area to be asked questions or for support in another area, however employers need to be sure that their vendor is indeed qualified in that area. Vendors who are unqualified can give misinformation, put people at risk, do not maximise the potential for the program and risk your program losing credibility with participants.

Strategic Vision :

You will want to consider your vendor in terms of their thinking on a big picture basis, right through to execution. How much strategic direction is placed around the program, it's design, delivery and tone of voice ? Figure out if they have a realistic approach to deliverables or are they promising seismic shifts in behaviours that may need far longer to bed in? Does your prospective vendor have guiding philosophies and principals around wellbeing, behavioural change, and engagement? If so, ask them what they are?

Solution for the ‘majority vs minority’ :

Depending on your organisations needs and wants - does your vendor deliver a specific niche product that fits within a suite of programs or solves a specific challenge your organisation faces?

If you are looking for a broad based wellbeing program, then attention must be given to the style, type and delivery mechanisms that your prospective vendor provides. Depending on what your organisation is looking to achieve you may want a ‘broad based program’ that engages the ‘many’ .. in which case you want to look for vendors who can design programs that encourage and maximise participation and level employees wellbeing upwards over time.

Side note, [ironically] we have learned, particularly when companies are designing programs in-house, that often the worst people to design programs are people are really ‘into’ wellbeing, as their thought processes around wellbeing topics are very different to the average program participant e.g. a couch to 5k might sound awesome to someone who is into that, however for many people that may just be scary!

Technology :

In a world where people are looking for on-demand and contextual information, there is an opportunity to use technology for good when it comes to workplace wellbeing. Technology, if used appropriately, can be highly effective when it comes to habit formation – with reminders, information, challenges, data, goal setting features etc.

Many employees are used to interacting with technology for their wellbeing currently, in cases if an employer is running an internal program a technology-less solution can feel like a step backwards. Also in some cases, employees feedback is that it is easier to share and seek help online than it is face-to-face – so technology can be a link (not a replacement) to in person conversations and supports.

Measurement & Metrics :

The old adage of ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’ stands true. We would encourage organisations to weigh up when selecting a vendor ‘what measures can they provide’ and how could they dovetail to tell a story in your HR dashboard (i.e. what measures you need). Essentially you will want to consider how you can use these metrics to take actions off the back of them.

Reach remote or multi-sites :

Maybe this is applicable to your organisation, maybe it's not. If not, is this likely to change in the future? For companies operating in multi-sites and/or have remote/home workers this is a very relevant question. How can this vendor service your employees? How can your employees in different regions/sites/at home feel parity in terms of their ability to access and participate in wellbeing programs? Indeed consider if your vendor has the capability to drive this level of inclusion?

#2. The vendor & the relationship

Fit for your organisations culture and/or philosophy :

You will want to evaluate your vendor versus the culture of your organisation – how will the program/style fit with your employee base e.g. are you delivering a sterile/proper program in a workspace that’s eclectic or highly personalised environment? How effectively can the program topic, style or presenter connect with the employees? How does that vendor operate versus your culture and philosophy? Do they work in similar manner or headspace as your company does? Does their mindset or approach resonate with your companies culture?

Forward thinking/thought leadership :

It is a good idea to assess your potential vendor(s) also in terms of how they think about the future, how their own knowledge and understanding in the area continues to evolve, how they keep ahead of the curve, stay fresh and drive innovation in their product. Consider if, or what degree, the vendor can be a thought leader who can give you strategic or visionary advice as you shape your organisations efforts, and influence your senior leadership team.

Future development plans

A great indicator as to how forward thinking and proactive a vendor is, is what is on their ‘roadmap’. What program, technology, people or research are they planning or getting after? How ambitious are these plans? How disruptive or innovative are they? How might these plans mirror what is happening in your organisation, industry etc?

Partnership Approach

Consider the degree to which you feel you could truly partner with this vendor? How open will they be to your feedback, to iteration and to your ideas? Equally you need to asses your own approach to partnership, how willing and open are you to feedback, iteration and new ideas? Consider to what degree is partnership important and what do you expect from it, and chose accordingly.

Bandwidth to support your program

To what degree is the vendor ready to service your organisation. What is their state or readiness? They may not need to be servicing in this manner or to your specifics, but the assessment has to be are they capable of it or not? And in reality what’s your organisations aversion to risk e.g. do you want a fully proven vendor or are you willing to consider a new market entrant. Are you open to co-creating with a vendor or do you want a vendor who already has what you need? There are no right or wrong answers – rather what is most palatable in you organisation.


Ultimately the price of any program or overall cost of a vendor relationship is important. Some other considerations you will want to benchmark against are; your budget/previous spend(s), what you are looking to deliver on this occasion, what differentiates each vendor (not all vendors/solutions are equal), what level of quality are you looking to achieve and what is the unrealised potential of the vendor (i.e. is there something that vendor is offering that is compelling and it is worthwhile considering the value vs an additional spend).

What has your experience been in selecting a wellbeing vendor? Have you any tips, tricks or nuggets of information that would help others avoid those pitfalls or bask in the glory of knowing them before they select their provider?

bernard brogan

CCO & Co-Founder @ PepTalk

Let's make work better …

At PepTalk, engagement is at the heart of all our wellbeing platform. Our platform is about energy, passion and fun while being grounded in key business outcomes. To find out more about this area and our wider PepTalk offering book a demonstration at or email

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