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Business owners can no longer simply focus on supporting their employees’ physical upkeep through healthcare benefits alone. Instead, modern companies require an approach that takes into consideration the physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing of their employees.
Beyond medical and dental, businesses may want to consider supplementing with pre-tax plans such as Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. These options will enable employees to save pre-tax dollars for qualified medical expenses for themselves or their families. Additionally, these deductions integrate seamlessly within payroll to allow business owners to focus on running overall operations. This is also a great time to consider additional voluntary benefits such as critical illness and accident coverages that give workers peace of mind when they need it most.
Wellbeing programs offer online classes, resources, tools and even rewards. To help motivate workers to join, businesses can appeal to their competitive side by offering incentives for participation.
Keep in mind that while employees may have the best intentions to improve their health, they may not be able to do so without the right resources at their disposal. Businesses should spice up weekly team meetings with helpful tips, reminders or data that will encourage exercise. Even though it may sound simple, some workers may not know how certain behaviors — such as sitting for too long or not getting outside — can negatively affect their health. While this is not a replacement for insurance, these programs could help curb costly medical conditions down the line.
The impact of the pandemic goes beyond physical health, it also caused a mental health crisis. According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38 percent of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression from April 2020 to February 2021, which is an about 11 percent increase from 2019. This decline in has in turn created a heightened need for employers to prioritize the mental health of their employees and do what they can to ensure they are feeling happy and supported in their environment whether they are remote or in-person. (It’s worth noting that a recent survey conducted by Motivosity of 2,000 American workers, found that three-fourths of all respondents maintained that loving their jobs was a requirement for having a fulfilling career.)
According to the 2021 Paychex Pulse of Human Resources Report, 52% of HR leaders agree it is important to support mental health challenges associated with the pandemic, including increased anxiety plus decreased enthusiasm, motivation and focus.
In fact, 40% of HR leaders polled increasingly see a link between employee mental health and company profitability. It is paramount for employers to continually evaluate and strengthen their benefits strategy to make sure it addresses the needs of the employees based on their experiences, not just at work but at home.
One key component of a robust benefits package is an Employee Assistance Program, which connects employees to assessments, short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up services. Depending on the situation, employees can access certain services from the safety of their own home.
EAPs generally cover employees and could also cover eligible household members, including spouse, domestic partner, children, and dependents. EAPs often maintain a network of partner organizations that can help meet a range of needs, such as legal firms, childcare professionals, elder care specialists, addiction resources, nutritionists and fitness experts. Where possible access to care counselors should be available 24/7 and all communications shared should be kept confidential.
Flexible work is one way business leaders are attempting to attract talent and retain current employees, in fact 38% of HR professionals are using this option as a means to retain staff.
Companies that offer staff enough hours to maximize their incomes, while being flexible enough to accommodate vacation requests or scheduling needs, generally foster a desired experience. By making sure the benefits offered help cover temporary leaves of absence, medical issues and paid time off— workers are likely to feel more secure, less stressed and more productive.
According to SHRM & Morgan Stanley’s 2021 At Work Report, 31 percent of Americans say their finances have caused them anxiety since the beginning of the pandemic. Whether it was layoffs, pay cuts, job cuts or business closures, employees have had a whole host of different causes for financial concern in the last 18 months. The stressors of the pandemic will not soon be forgotten by today’s workforce and they are likely to be more committed to financial wellbeing because of it.
These programs can be customized to address specific financial issues staff may face at any given time. Consider developing a brief survey for employees to understand what topics a financial wellbeing program could address to boost employees’ financial confidence. Once the survey feedback is received, structure the timing of programming to align with the team’s personal financial realities. For example, the financial wellbeing program can offer introductory resources on how to create a budget or a how-to on setting up a savings account.
Finally, as candidates weigh the pros and cons of different opportunities in a competitive job market, offering a retirement plan is among the best ways to attract talent. Plan expenses are also tax-deductible, along with employer contributions such as an employee match or profit-sharing.