Why it Pays to Care for Your Employees Today

Nicolette Cross

July 27, 2023

Originally published on BenefitsPro

A recent MetLife survey uncovered some revealing data about how strongly companies and employees feel about business stepping up to take care of its people:

  • 82% of employees believe employers have a responsibility to care for their workforce
  • 88% of employers feel it’s important to demonstrate care for their employees

Taking care of employees isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. As a survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at UKG and Workplace Intelligence in 2021 reported, employees who feel cared for at work are:

  • 92% more likely to feel engaged
  • 65% more likely to be loyal to their employer
  • 56% more likely to be productive

No wonder employers believe that demonstrating their care for employees is the number one reason they invest in benefits. And no wonder medical and health insurance was the top “must-have” benefit in the UKG survey.

But, employee care doesn’t stop with simply offering core benefits. In today’s competitive environment and with the continuing growth in voluntary benefits, employers who really want to demonstrate care for their employees will extend those efforts beyond the health and wellness benefits they offer. One proven strategy to deepen engagement and employee loyalty is to layer active engagement tactics into employee benefit communication plans. Tools like routine feedback can be used to improve understanding and use of benefits. With this kind of information, leaders and managers can help heighten the employee experience by responding to employee opinions in a way that shows employees’ voices are being heard.

Creating a holistic approach to employee wellbeing

When a company integrates employee engagement and communication strategies into its core benefits program, they create a holistic approach to employee wellbeing. By providing employees access to relevant information and resources that complement their benefits and empowering employees with two-way communication and feedback opportunities, companies can help their employees make better-informed decisions about their health care.

Communication strategies that highlight the wellness initiatives and benefits available to employees need to be accessible to any employee, on any employee’s terms — from newsletters and company-wide meetings to targeted emails and text and mobile notifications. By using effective communication strategies to promote wellbeing programs, employers can create a more engaged workforce.

The return of the emphasis on core health care benefits

Core employee health benefits typically include medical, dental, and vision coverage. These are the essential benefits for attracting and retaining top talent. By integrating employee engagement and communication strategies that include targeted education with core health care benefits, employers can begin to create a culture of wellness and help employees understand the value of their benefits.

When employees are aware of the value of the benefits they’re offered — and better understand how to use those benefits — they are more likely to feel valued and stay engaged in their work.

Result 1: Greater ROI

The ROI of health benefit costs can be significant, and integrating employee engagement and communication strategies with core employee benefits can help employers achieve greater results.

Employer-sponsored health plans were estimated to generate a 47% return on investment (ROI) for employers in 2022, growing to 52% in 2026, according to a study from Avalere Health and commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The ROI is mainly driven by reduced direct medical costs, higher productivity, and tax benefits.

When employees are engaged and motivated to take care of their overall wellbeing, they are less likely to miss work due to health-related issues. Reduced absenteeism, in turn, can increase productivity and positively impact the bottom line.

In addition, when employees understand the benefits available to them and use them effectively, health care costs can be reduced, leading to cost savings for employers. For example, the Small Business Chronicle reported that DuPont Corporation reduced disability days among its workforce by 14 days each year after instituting a wellness and fitness program, and Pacific Bell Telephone Company decreased costs related to absenteeism by approximately $2 million annually and disability leave expenses by approximately $4.7 million by instituting a wellness program.

Result 2: Improved employee experience

Employee engagement and communication strategies integrated with employee benefits can create a better employee experience all around. Engaged employees are more likely to feel satisfied, valued, and supported in their roles — and hence, the employee experience is better.

When employees feel supported, they are more motivated to go above and beyond in their tasks, creating increased productivity and driving greater loyalty. Integrating communication strategies and wellness initiatives with core employee benefits can demonstrate that the employer genuinely cares about the wellbeing of their employees and is committed to creating a positive work environment.

By creating a culture of wellness and empowering employees with the knowledge and resources they need to make informed decisions about their health and financial wellbeing, companies can build a strong foundation for success. As we continue to navigate the challenges of a changing work environment, investing in employee engagement and wellbeing has never been more important.

Employee engagement for benefits leaders

The right benefits administration partner will be able to empower HR and benefits leaders with real-time insights and easy-to-use communication tools that combined, can transform employee engagement.

An optimal workforce communications tool will deliver the right benefits messages to the right employees at the right time — across any device. Quizzes, surveys, and campaigns with results that employees and managers can track all enable two-way interaction and can deliver serious insights into employee attitudes and opinions.

The data that comes out of that two-way communication provide real-time insights and reporting, including how every communication tactic is performing. With this insight, benefits and HR leaders can revise any of the variables in their messaging content to optimize employee engagement and make sure the messages are being heard.

Remove confusion, increase appreciation, enhance ROI

One recent study showed that 3 out of 4 employees don’t fully understand their benefits package. A lack of communication can lead to missed opportunities to utilize benefits or to employees not appreciating the full value of their rewards. By integrating employee engagement and communication strategies into benefits, employees become more knowledgeable about their benefits package.

When the benefits package is adequately communicated to employees, and followed up with ongoing, targeted, two-way communication, employees have a better understanding of how the program fits into their health and wellbeing goals. It’s equally important to make sure the same information is effectively communicated to the other decision-makers or benefits user in each employee’s household. This leads employees to use their health benefits more frequently, which in turn reduces the overall health care costs for the company.

Any organization would be smart to consider how much of their health benefit costs can be offset by effective engagement and communication strategies related to its benefits package. With employee health and wellness at the forefront of most organizations today, there’s no better time to begin this integration — to cultivate your people, foster a strong company culture and simultaneously improve the bottom line.

Jasper Purvis is Vice President of Business Development at Selerix.

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