From the point of view of some employers, the cost of providing employee healthcare benefits may appear to be one they could do without. It’s certainly not cheap to provide benefits that include private healthcare, gym subsidies, free relaxation classes and even workplace therapy, but there is a compelling business case to do so.
Choosing not to offer healthcare benefits can actually prove to be a much costlier decision than creating a scheme your employees really value. Healthcare benefits are not only a powerful tool for the attraction and retention of employees, but they also have a proven impact on productivity, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Examples of popular employee healthcare benefits
Healthcare benefits can differ widely from one employer to the next. They can range from subsidised gym membership to having access to healthy food at work. In fact, in the US, wherecontraception options can be expensive, even free family planning advice is a perk some employers offer. Other popular healthcare benefits include:
- On-site fitness centres
- Smoking cessation programmes
- Subsidised bike ownership
- Massage therapy
- Yoga classes
- Stress days
- A subsidised canteen that provides healthy food
- Paid volunteering days
- Weight loss challenges
- Trips away
These are a few of the benefits that a carefully curated employee healthcare package can bring…
- Boost retention
Benefits have become one of the most popular ways for companies to attract and retain talent. A study found that 56 percent of employees said benefits were either ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ important when evaluating a job offer. With smaller businesses often unable to compete with larger organisations in terms of the salary, many are turning to their benefits package, and particularly healthcare benefits, to give them the edge.
- Reduce workplace stress
In recent years, there has been a significant and long overdue upturn in the awareness of stress and mental health issues in the workplace. In the UK, it is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of sickness absence is attributable to some form of mental illness. Work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health and unchecked, it can lead to psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, loss of concentration and poor decision making.
Putting benefits in place that can counter the impact of workplace stress, such as fitness classes, relaxation sessions and stress days, can be invaluable. However, it’s also essential to build an environment that underscores how common mental health issues are and for leadership to advocate that employees seek help if they need it.
- Increase productivity
Numerous studies have found that healthy workers are more productive. When you offer a package that includes preventative health care, your employees will be more engaged, more productive and less likely to take time off sick.
In fact, research from the Britain’s Healthiest Company initiative has found that unhealthy employees are53 percent more likely to suffer from presenteeism (when employees are at work but not productive) than their healthier counterparts. Unhealthy workers are also more likely to be involved in a workplace accident, which means good healthcare benefits may even help to reduce your insurance premiums.
- Enhance workplace engagement
Employees have unique health requirements at different phases of their lives. To engage your team, it’s essential you introduce an element of flexibility into the healthcare benefits you offer by tailoring the perks to meet their specific needs. For example, while a workplace bike ownership scheme might be valued by employees who live close enough to cycle to work, others might prefer yoga classes so they can unwind on-site.
Employee healthcare benefits can have a significant impact on almost every part of your business, including your bottom line. With some employers believing their healthcare benefits generate a 3-1 return on investment, perhaps it’s time you looked more closely at the perks you have in place..?