A recent MetLife survey revealed that 74% of employees were concerned about at least one aspect of their wellbeing as a result of COVID-19. It’s human nature for people to worry about their own wellbeing, and it’s in the nature of successful organizations to keep employees’ worries and needs top of mind when structuring their benefits programs.
When it comes to treating employees like consumers in an increasingly “me first” world, HR leaders must find strategic ways to serve two masters: 1) creating personalized, engaging and helpful programs employees need and want based on ever-changing, personal goals and 2) delivering exceptional business outcomes overall.
Striking a balance
When employees are healthy in mind and body and confident about their financial future, the impact on business is measurable — from fewer sick days and medical claims to greater productivity. The pandemic has shed new light on the importance of health and wellbeing programs. In a recent survey conducted by Ginger, seven out of 10 employees indicated that COVID-19 has been the most stressful time in their professional careers.
As the world moves into pandemic recovery, HR leaders sit in a hot seat with tremendous pressure and expectations — from both employees and corporate leaders who are counting on a smooth return to “business as usual.” Successful HR leaders are embracing this opportunity to accelerate digitization, experiment with innovative programs and rethink employee health and wealth benefits overall.
Accelerating the path to digital health and wellness
The reality of the new normal workplace is, not surprisingly, digital. While many organizations scrambled to move large percentages of their workforce to work-at-home as the pandemic began, the pathway to recovery is being paved much smoother through sophisticated tools designed to protect the wellbeing of employees.
For example, Conduent offers an integrated, AI-based symptom checker and wellness tracker through our Life@Work® benefits portal. When healthcare navigation resources are fully integrated with benefits plan information, employees are able to get a real-time intelligent diagnosis, specific coverage options, and virtual “check-ups.”
Organizations are also increasing their use of digital tools for financial fitness through 401K auto-enrollments and retirement modeling as well as financial budgeting, planning and robo-advising tools that can help employees make strategic decisions while considering their complete financial picture.
Rethinking employee benefits
When we think about employees as consumers, the trend in benefits management is on a clear trajectory: programs that give employees more control over their benefit plan dollars. Consumer-directed benefits programs help satisfy the “two masters:” employee centricity and delivering business outcomes. Following are some example strategies HR leaders should consider to support these dual goals:
- Utilize a digital health marketplace: Simplifying and integrating benefits delivery can reduce healthcare spend by millions of dollars in year one, with continuing year over year savings. Give employees more focused, cost-effective options. Provide personalized, digital tools to enhance overall health and wellness at critical life moments.
- Take open enrollment virtual: Deliver open enrollment education through interactive, digital tools. Take advantage of intelligent recommendation engines that help employees make key decisions. For employees who need high-touch support, provide qualified advocacy representatives who can help them make the right choices based on their specific needs.
- Maximize the HSA: A tax-advantaged HSA is typically paired with a high deductible health plan, which can save employees between $1,872 and $2,856 on premium costs (according to BenefitsPRO). The tax advantages of the HSA, coupled with the retirement savings opportunity, add up to more value for both the employee and employer over the short- and long-term.
- Expand voluntary benefits options: Voluntary benefits are the definition of personalization. They give employees the flexibility to select from a menu and choose supplemental plans that meet their specific needs at any given time — whether it’s consolidating student loans, saving for long-term care, protecting against fraudulent activity, or protecting furry family members. HR leaders have many options with voluntary benefits that deliver peace of mind for employees with minimal overhead.
How Conduent can help
In the landscape of benefits administration and supporting employees’ health and wealth goals, HR leaders have a big role to play — and tremendous organizational responsibility. Conduent’s HR, Benefits and Learning Solutions support HR leaders in delivering against both employee expectations and organization goals throughout every step of the journey. We’re helping Fortune 100 companies today, and we are ready to help with your path to recovery. Learn more now.