Why health benefits are important for the “employee experience”
Employers have long known that their employees matter to the overall bottom line – hence, many provide competitive employee benefits to attract and retain the most talented staff. Even SMEs, traditionally wary of splurging, can stand to gain in this regard. But, recently, a new buzzword has also been circulating in the human resource world – employee experience or EX for short. Is this simply a fad? Or is it a meaningful shift? This Pacific Prime article tells you what the hype with employee experience is about and why health benefits play a crucial part.
A closer look at the “employee experience”
Employee experience focuses on the bigger picture, considering all of an employees’ interactions, relationships, as well as work environments. It takes into account how they think and feel during their employment journey. Employee experience is far broader than employee engagement, defined as the commitment and connection an employee has towards the organization.
In order to improve the employee experience, one would need to put oneself in the shoes of an employee and ponder over some of the following aspects:
- Recruiting, onboarding, and training process
- Benefits package
- Workplace policies and design
- Day-to-day communications with supervisor and colleagues
- Performance management system
- Celebration of key achievements
- Off boarding and exit manner
As a concept, employee experience takes inspiration from the established customer experience. Put simply, that’s the impression that customers have of a brand at every stage of interaction. Companies put a lot of thought into audience segmentation in order to understand and optimize the customer experience.
Just as customer experience has been almost unilaterally recognized as important, employee experience should also be given importance. According to research and advisory company Gartner, 89% of companies prioritize customer experience to stay competitive. On the contrary, the company found that only 13% of employees are fully satisfied with their experience.
The role that health benefits play
Richard Morgan, principal at Aon, a benefits company, said in a Personnel Today article that organizations are increasingly designing their employee benefits packages with the employee experience kept firmly in mind. He also believes that various aspects of health benefits play a vital role in doing so.
“For example, well-being, and particularly mental health, are key to the overall employee experience for many organizations, so it’s important to align benefits to support mental health strategies as well as to communicate them effectively to employees” – Richard Morgan, principal at Aon.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having the potential to trigger behavioral health conditions in employees, it’s even more clear that employers cannot ignore their employees’ health and well-being concerns when trying to optimize employee experience. This is because part of treating employees like family includes making their priorities those of the organization.
Not only will providing health benefits help employees and increase productivity levels, but it can also alleviate some of the anxiety and stress relating to personal finances and healthcare costs. Especially in countries with a substandard public healthcare system, financial worries as a result of healthcare costs can contribute to absenteeism and presenteeism.
However, a lot of organizations simply pay lip service to health benefits, offering one-size-fits-all packages to employees. Others try hard to provide some option that’s based on generalized data. In reality though, this often isn’t as effective as it could be. Each employee has different needs and requires a truly personalized approach.
Strategies for employers moving forward
Data driven strategies are highly recommended for employers who are looking to tailor their employee benefits plan. Doing so will enable them to reap the full advantage of an excellent employee experience. These are lower costs and higher productivity, through employee satisfaction, good health outcomes, as well as decreased absenteeism and presenteeism.
For the best employee experience, there are some pointers for employers to bear in mind:
1. Understand who your employees are
The first step is to understand the demographics of your employees and their unique needs. Organizations will need to know employees’ age, gender, chronic conditions, risk factors, personal preferences, as well as expectations.
2. Implement tailored benefits, but plan for the long-term
Of course, organizations should implement employee benefits plans based on the needs of their current employees. However, they should not lose sight of the future. It may be a good idea to forecast how the employees’ and organization’s needs will be in the coming months.
3. Be flexible when planning
It’s always good to plan in advance, but organizations must remain flexible. There can be unexpected changes, such as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s helpful to model how these changes will impact your people and plan.
Get in touch with Pacific Prime
Pacific Prime has a wealth of resources on implementing employee benefits, such as our step-by-step guide. However, especially if opting for personalized employee benefits, it’s necessary to be compliant with data privacy regulations such as the EU’s GDPR law. Enlisting the help of an employee benefits specialist can help.
As a global insurance broker and employee benefits specialist with over two decades of experience, we are GDPR compliant and work effectively with corporate clients. Whether you’re looking for group health insurance, with or without mental health coverage, or other wellness benefits, we can help you design an employee benefits solution.
Contact our corporate team today for a consultation and no-obligation quote!
Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
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