A recent Mind over Money survey by Capital One and The Decision Lab revealed that 77% of Americans are anxious about their financial situation. It’s human nature for people to worry about their own health and financial wellbeing. It's also 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 that 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 implications of the pandemic and historic inflation over the recent past have shed new light on the importance of health and wellbeing programs. In the 2022 State of Workforce Mental Health Study, 84% of workers claimed they experienced at least one mental health challenge over the past year –– from issues such as stress and burnout to diagnosable conditions, including depression.
As the world continues down the path to full recovery, HR leaders sit in a hot seat with tremendous pressure and expectations from both employees and corporate leaders who have new workplace expectations. Successful HR leaders are embracing this opportunity to accelerate digitization, experiment with innovative programs and rethink employee health and wealth benefits end-to-end.
Accelerating the path to digital health and wellness
The reality of the new workplace is, not surprisingly, digital. With only 23% of employees expecting to work in an office full-time, down from 60% in 2019, organizations must accommodate easy access and sophisticated tools designed to enhance the wellbeing of employees.
For example, health navigation platforms and mobile apps connect employees with the right providers, services, and support –– at the right moment in their healthcare journey –– to help employees make more optimal use of their benefits and positively impact their health and wellbeing.
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, coaching 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 visibility, choice, access, and control over their program dollars. Reimagining benefits and rewards strategies 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:
- Think Total Rewards: By shifting to a total rewards strategy that focuses on the human being rather than just the employee, HR leaders have an opportunity to accommodate ever-changing individualized employee preferences and drive higher levels of productivity. Design packages that think holistically across workplace flexibility, personal growth and career development, wellness, incentives, lifestyle accommodations, health and wealth benefits packages and compensation to drive both engagement and ROI.
- Deliver Human-Centered Experiences: Total rewards packages add value to your organization only if employees understand they exist and use them. An employee experience platform that integrates various employee benefits into a single experience isn’t just more convenient for employees, it can also better inform their decisions based on their holistic picture supplemented with educational tools and resources. By leveraging a combination of human-centered design principles with modeling tools, decision support and intelligent workflows, you can provide your employees and their families with holistic life guidance across health, wellness and wealth — at any life stage or decision point.
- Increased Affordability for Employees: 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. Employers are also beginning to complement their high-deductible plans with low-to-no deductible plans to accommodate the needs of some employees like people who have chronic medical conditions to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
- 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 with tremendous organizational responsibility. Conduent’s Human Capital Solutions support HR leaders in delivering against both employee expectations and organizational goals throughout every step of the journey. We’re helping Fortune 100 companies today, and we are ready to help guide you on your path to creating a future-ready HR organization. Learn more now.