Employers should prioritize health-related incentives like health insurance and health and wellness programs because they can improve employee health and productivity. According to a study by the National Business Group on Health, “healthy employees are more productive, miss less work, and cost their employers less money. Employers that invest in worksite health promotion see an average return on investment of $2.73 for every $1 spent” (Workplace Wellness Programs). Additionally, providing employees with access to affordable healthcare coverage allows them to focus on their work without the stress of worrying about medical bills. A study by the Commonwealth Fund found that “workers with employer-sponsored coverage were more likely than those with no coverage to say their health was excellent or very good (69 percent vs. 54 percent)” (Employer-Sponsored Insurance). Employers can improve employee health and productivity by prioritizing health-related incentives and reducing costs.
However, those are already standard incentives. Employers must make an effort, even if it means attending to their specific needs. Here are a few you can try.
Even with health insurance, employees might still have to cover some medical expenses out of their pockets. As much as the policy can help with the cost of treatments, some side procedures or ancillary services are not in the coverage.
These unexpected medical bills can quickly add up, leaving your employees struggling to make ends meet. To help them stay healthy, you could consider offering financial assistance for these out-of-pocket expenses.
You could set up a fund to help your employees cover their medical costs or offer interest-free loans that they can repay over time. Alternatively, you could offer discounts on medical procedures or services at certain facilities.
One of the most prominent areas where this might become a problem includes buying prescribed medicine. Employees who can’t afford their medication might not take it as prescribed, leading to poorer health outcomes.
Helping to shoulder this burden will show your employees that you genuinely care about their well-being.
For some employees, having a flexible schedule is more important than a pay raise. Twenty-four percent of workers would give up $7,500 in salary for the ability to have a flexible work schedule, according to a study by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics.
While this doesn’t seem like a direct way to improve employee health, it can make a significant difference. Employees can better manage their work-life balance when they have more control over their time. This situation includes caring for themselves and their families, exercising regularly, and eating healthy meals.
Moreover, flexible work schedules can help employees manage chronic health conditions. For example, if an employee has diabetes, they might need regular breaks to check their blood sugar levels and take insulin injections.
Allowing them to adjust their work hours to accommodate their needs can help them better manage their condition and improve their overall health.
On-site Health Services
You could consider offering on-site health services if your company is large enough. These services could include anything from fitness classes to primary care visits.
Having on-site health services is convenient for employees and can encourage them to stay healthy. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that “employees who have access to on-site clinics use them more frequently for preventive care, resulting in better health outcomes and lower costs” (On-Site Health Clinics).
Offering on-site health services is a significant investment, but it can pay off in the long run. Not only will your employees be healthier, but they’ll also be more productive.
Seeking a specialist might be part of the health insurance package, but most of the procedures under that policy involve generic checkups and consultations. Specialized consultations, like that of a neurologist, can force patients to spend more out of their pockets.
You could negotiate with specific facilities to offer your employees discounts on these rates. This way, they can get the care they need without spending too much money. You can partner with a clinic that provides private MRI scans and offer employees who require it discounts. The strategy can work with any specialist. However, make sure that the quality of care is not compromised.
Employee Assistance Program
An employee assistance program (EAP) is a confidential counseling service that can help employees deal with personal or work-related problems. These services are usually provided by licensed counselors and are paid for by the employer.
EAPs can help employees deal with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health issues. Employees with access to EAPs are less likely to experience burnout, leading to poorer health outcomes.
Offering an EAP is a significant investment but can pay off in the long run. Employees with access to these services are more productive and have better mental and physical health.
There are many ways to help employees stay healthy. You can offer discounts, create flexible scheduling, or provide on-site health services. You could also consider offering an employee assistance program.
The most important thing is to find what works best for your company and your employees. Evaluate your options and choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.