Work environments are often buzzing with activity, resulting in frequent disruptions that prevent employees from being productive. While the thought of hanging around the watercooler for a breather is nothing new, modern organizations are now confronting the direct and costly connection between employee productivity and wellbeing.
According to an Annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey published by Willis Towers Watson, companies that used best-in-class health-care benefit strategies spend an annual average of $3,548 less per employee on health-care expenses.
When dealing with issues like low productivity, it is important to consider how different aspects of work may affect employee health and happiness. Reducing health insurance costs, introducing employee wellness programs, and other changes can make a significant difference in the productivity of a workforce. Here are some effective ways to reduce insurance costs and increase employee productivity.
Modern Workforce Growing Anxious by the Rising Cost of Living
Employees throughout the United States have experienced a noticeable rise in the costs of many necessities, making it difficult for the modern workforce to achieve economic security. This increase in the cost of living has had a direct impact on workers struggling to care for their families.
According to a 2022 Deloitte survey that offers a new outlook on the Gen Z life experience, 29 percent reported that the cost of living, including housing, bills, and transportation was a top concern. Just one-quarter of respondents reported that they can comfortably cover their monthly living expenses and nearly half (46 percent) said that they live paycheck to paycheck.
The mental health of employees is a top concern for many employers. As more employees continue to return to the workforce post-COVID, many now suffer from chronic stress and anxiety. While hybrid workers are more likely to have higher job satisfaction due to maintaining a better work-life balance and greater flexibility, they are not completely immune to the stresses of the workplace.
Today’s Workforce Is More Likely to Leave Positions If Needs Are Neglected
While stress has always been present in the workplace, recent changes and new challenges have put even more tension on employees. According to recent Gallup research, a whopping 70 percent of US employees do not show up to work fully committed and willing to provide their best performance. In addition, 52 percent of these employees essentially “sleepwalk” through their day. Finally, 18 percent actually act out their unhappiness at work.
Stress is not only present at work. Many employees also deal with stress at home which can have a direct effect on their performance in the workplace. High stress levels can lead to increased levels of absenteeism, as well as poor performance. Today’s employees seek purpose and personal value at work and employers must be willing to deliver.
Many employees feel that their needs are neglected by management, increasing the odds of leaving their position for better opportunities. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that low pay, a feeling of disrespect at work, and a lack of opportunities for career advancement are some of the most common reasons that Americans quit their jobs.
The survey also showed that many of those employees who quit their job are now employed elsewhere and are more likely to report that their current position offers better pay, an enhanced work-life balance, greater flexibility, and more opportunities for advancement.
Reducing Health-Care Spending through Benefit Design Strategies
Health-care costs continue to rise, forcing many employers to alleviate the pressure on wages and premiums by raising patient cost-sharing at the point of service. Cost-sharing growth has resulted in concerns about an increase in underinsurance which occurs when insured individuals pay a large share of their wages at the point of service to access health care.
Reducing health-care spending with the use of effective benefit design strategies has been shown to help reduce insurance costs and increase employee productivity. Best-performing employers take the initiative to continually evolve their health-care benefits strategies to cut costs while also enhancing employee health care.
Ensure Efficient and Effective Care Through Value-Based Designs
The benefits landscape has changed drastically over the last decade. Fresh graduates now expect competitive health care and mental health programs designed to help them succeed. Companies can help meet these expectations, while also alleviating distractions from stress, by delivering better employee benefits.
There is a direct connection between health-care costs and high-quality, evidence-based patient outcomes. Value-based designs aim to align both provider and patient incentives with effective health care to prevent the recurrence of illnesses and reduce the likelihood of complications. The general idea is to provide patients with proper care sooner rather than later.
With a traditional employee benefits package, any out-of-pocket costs do not generally reflect the expected value of care or clinical benefit. Value-based insurance strategies are designed to promote greater efficiency by aligning patients’ out-of-pocket expenses with the value of health-care services.
Value-based designs call for lower cost-sharing for high-value services and higher cost-sharing for low-value services. These types of plans are created with the understanding that clinical services often differ in associated clinical benefits and the clinical benefits of certain services can vary based on who receives them and where they were received.
Offer Holistic and Integrated Employee Well-Being Programs
Lack of flexibility, mobility, and professional freedom has caused many employees to leave their current positions in search of a better future. According to the 2022 Microsoft Work Trend Index study that looked at findings from 31,000 workers in 31 countries, approximately 52 percent of Generation Z and Millennial employees were likely to consider changing companies this year. The report also showed that 35 percent of Baby Boomers and Generation X workers were considering a job change.
To deter absenteeism and reduce job turnover rates, many employers have started offering holistic and integrated employee well-being programs. Many times, well-being initiatives implemented by employers do not align with employee needs and are instead regarded as “perks” rather than components of a comprehensive, holistic program that addresses the unique needs of the modern workforce.
To get real results, companies should place greater emphasis on employee well-being in their day-to-day operations. This requires employers to assess current well-being initiatives, analyze employee data to determine needs, and identify program constraints and systematic barriers. Companies must also work on creating a targeted and customized communications plan to ensure that all employees are aware of the well-being programs being offered.
Empower the Workforce to Make Informed Benefit Decisions
Stress is inevitable both in and out of the workplace. In some cases, stress can be beneficial but when it becomes too much, employees can feel overwhelmed, resulting in reduced productivity. Chronic stress can affect employees in a number of ways with some of the most common symptoms being lack of energy, constant worry, lack of focus, reduced creativity, and negative effects on personality.
Employers can also feel the effects of employee stress. Employees who experience chronic stress may show increased rates of absenteeism and suffer physical symptoms that could prevent them from coming to work, such as high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, and headaches. Additionally, employers may notice an uptick in tardiness, staff turnover, and a lower quality of work. Peer relationships can become stressed, resulting in staff who isolate themselves.
One way to help employees feel better and become more productive is by providing them with the tools necessary to make informed benefit decisions. It is important to educate employees on what benefits are available to them and how these benefits can help cut down on health scares and improve overall well-being. Empowered employees often display stronger job performance, allowing them to reach their full potential.
Evaluate Workforce Programs to Improve Future Benefit Offerings
There is a direct link between employee happiness and productivity in the workplace. According to research conducted by experts from the University of Oxford, MIT, and Erasmus University Rotterdam, employees were found to be 13 percent more productive when happy.
Managing employee benefits is a costly but important endeavor. Most employers are required to offer mandatory benefits like workers’ compensation insurance, Social Security contributions, and unemployment insurance. Many employers also offer their employees additional benefits, such as medical insurance, retirement plan benefits, life and disability insurance, educational assistance programs, and paid time off benefits.
To enhance employee productivity and improve future benefit offerings, it is important to evaluate current workforce programs. Start by identifying the company’s benefits budget and benefits. Perform a needs assessment to determine what types of benefits are most sought after by employees by using a feedback system. Having a solid communication strategy in place can help ensure that the right benefits are introduced to the workforce.
Contact New City to Learn More About Ways to Improve and Support Employees and Their Benefits
Health-care costs in the United States have been rising for decades, meaning this is a trend that is likely to stay. Without access to comprehensive insurance and other well-being benefits, employees can suffer. Healthy employees are less likely to use vacation time or call in sick due to an illness.
There is a link between companies that support health care in the workplace and a larger percentage of employees who rarely miss work. Having workplace health programs in place can lower absenteeism, reduce employee turnover, and increase overall productivity.
Employers that wish to improve and support employees and their benefits have more opportunities than ever before. New City Insurance is an employee benefits consulting firm that specializes in insurance, compliance, and benefits consulting. Request a consultation online today or contact New City at 888.210.2765.