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Executive Q&A: WHOOP’s Mark McLaughlin on B2B Wearables

Taking its high-performance wearable to the workplace, WHOOP recently launched its WHOOP Unite program.

Detailing its rollout, WHOOP chief business officer Mark McLaughlin joined us to discuss improving holistic health and resilience in the workplace and serving organizations across the Fortune 500, healthcare, and the military.

Why is WHOOP targeting the corporate wellness market?

Mark McLaughlin: WHOOP has a tremendously loyal following. Our members are fanatical about the physical product and the data, insights, and coaching that allow them to see meaningful changes in their sleep and overall health.

This journey to serve organizations and their people started organically.

As we worked with customers and heard their stories, it was clear that WHOOP was playing a meaningful role in unlocking human performance at many different levels. We knew about athletes on the field, but we were also helping doctors going into surgery, consultants hitting the road for 200 days a year, and firefighters going into dangerous and extremely stressful situations.

We started getting members reaching out to us saying, “I want to bring this to my company.”

Our members recognized that organizations play such a critical role in supporting the health and resilience of their people. So, it wasn’t just about empowering people with a tool but rather creating a cultural shift, bringing everyone in as a part of a shared conversation and community focused on better sleep, health, and overall performance.

We built WHOOP Unite to serve people across a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, research, public service, business, athletics, and more.

Understanding aggregate insights about sleep, stress, and recovery allows leaders in these industries to make informed decisions about policies and programs that drive greater employee engagement, improved productivity, lower attrition, and fewer workplace injuries.

In helping people improve their rest and recovery, leaders and teams are creating environments with greater psychological safety and bringing their sharpest minds to work.

And, of course, employees love using WHOOP and are seeing benefits in mental and physical wellness and resilience.

How will enterprise partnerships be structured and how will you define the success of the program?

MM: WHOOP Unite is a SaaS solution available on an annual contract-basis. We’ve already had a fantastic organic response and are working with over 200 customers in business, healthcare, public service, and higher education.

One of our customers in the business vertical, Hitachi Vantara, is using WHOOP Unite, paired with resources and coaching provided by the company, to help employees develop sustainable health habits. They had great engagement in their first sleep challenge, and that’s just the beginning.

In the healthcare space, we partnered with Adam Buckholz, MD at Weill Cornell Medicine on a research study on liver disease. WHOOP sleep data showed that patients experienced drastic reductions in REM sleep, losing almost 50% of their REM sleep per night — even when they were sleeping for the same number of hours as those without the disease.

Dr. Buckholz hopes to use sleep data from WHOOP to evaluate potential medicinal and behavioral interventions that might help prevent disease progression. Earlier diagnosis and treatment has the potential to save thousands of lives.

Will the corporate offering differ from the direct-to-consumer product?

MM: WHOOP Unite is purpose-built for organizations: The solution combines administrative controls with organizational analytics, reporting, and coaching, supported by a scalable platform and customer success program. All end users benefit from our best-in-class device and mobile application, which helps both consumers and enterprise customers achieve their goals.

End users at any organization will have the full consumer experience — with the WHOOP 4.0, a personalized digital health coach that tracks key metrics, and user-reported behaviors to provide actionable recommendations to improve health and performance.

In fact, organizations find that when they sign up for WHOOP Unite, many employees are already WHOOP customers, so nothing changes for those users.

Organizations also get the controls and insights they need to efficiently run their employee engagement and wellness programs at scale, including:

  • Tools to seamlessly manage onboarding, offboarding, shipping, and privacy
  • Insights into engagement and activation to improve outcomes
  • Programs and challenges to stay motivated and accountable
  • A dedicated account manager and 24/7 support

Combined, WHOOP Unite delivers a holistic health and resilience program tailored to the unique needs and goals of each organization.

Traditional corporate wellness programs have proven ineffective. Why and how is WHOOP better or different from other options?

MM: We have spoken with a lot of customers who have recognized that perks alone are often ineffective.

Many traditional corporate wellness programs are based on piecing together perks such as wellness stipends, meditation apps, and “recharge” days. The issue is that perks can be short-lived and actually detract from the critical role that leaders play as stewards of their organizations, employees, and customers.

The other issue is that many perks put undue onus on the individual to understand and take advantage of the benefit companies are providing.

Additionally, health solutions often focus on measuring what people did and not what they need to do. They measure how they slept, how many steps they took, and what their heart rate was. WHOOP Unite helps your people understand what to do next to achieve the results that matter.

Long-term behavioral change requires personalized insights and coaching to transform how employees show up to work each day, and how their employers support them.

Anything else you’d like readers to know?

MM: Turning around the trends in employee burnout and mental health has never been more important. Over 4.5 million Americans quit their job last month, which was a record high and the fourth time we’ve hit a new record in the past two quarters.

Clearly, what has been done previously isn’t working, and it’s affecting both the people in our organizations and the bottom line. We need a different approach.

Our coaching empowers each individual to be their most resilient version of themselves as they optimize their health. Every organization is different, every person is different, every day is different, and WHOOP Unite gets that.