The season of resolutions is upon us! Gyms are packed, and grocery lists are full of healthy greens and fruits, but that dedication to health can be easily forgotten when monetary value comes into play. For employees, employers and brokers alike, its time to make a health AND wealth resolution, to hold both ideas in equal regards and realize that group health benefits and a company’s bottom line actually have a great deal to do with one another.
What many don’t realize is that, in addition to eating a balanced diet and working out, taking care of yourself when sick is also a big part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Something that many employees are guilty of is coming to work while sick for reasons such as not wanting to take leave, fear of getting behind in projects and feeling as though they have to be present because of the culture of the employer. While it may seem like going to work when under the weather can help keep employees on top of everything, it can actually have the opposite effect.
Working while sick means that employees are working at a hugely reduced productivity and efficiency level. That means the actual work is suffering as well as the employee. Plus, lack of rest and doctor attention means that it will take longer for the employee to get back to optimal health. Their productivity will suffer longer than if they had taken time to get better. And finally, coming to work sick also spreads illness!
While employers value healthy employees, they also value a healthy bottom line, and the latter unfortunately often takes precedence.
Due to rising premium costs, employers are looking for ways to reduce their overall healthcare spend. The most common way of doing so is by degrading group health plans and asking the employee to shoulder more of the cost.
This has 2 ripple effects:
- Employees are less likely to go seek medical attention when facing high deductibles and large out-of-pocket costs. This leads to sick employees not performing at 100%.
- Cutting healthcare coverage creates a culture where employees don’t feel that their health is sufficiently supported. This can lead to employees feeling uncomfortable with staying home from work when sick, which can lead to the spread of infection and presenteeism.
Presenteeism, employees working while sick or distracted and performing at reduced productivity levels, can take huge hits to an employer’s bottom line, especially when factoring in the fact that reduced productivity trickles down from the top to all levels of the company. Ultimately, the decision to reduce costs by cutting healthcare coverage negatively impacts the bottom line in the end.
Being a great healthcare benefits consultant is not simply about numbers. But every broker will have clients who are stuck on the numbers. It’s important to remember, and convey, that workplace benefits will impact their bottom line far beyond the initial premium cost.
Reducing healthcare costs by degrading group health plan coverage can lead to unhappy employees. And in today’s tight labor market, there are an abundance of job opportunities for employees to choose from if their current situation isn’t up to their standards. This is especially true for those talent pools that are in high demand and greatly impact the bottom line. They will know they can find better workplace benefits elsewhere.
So, reducing group health plan coverage can, in turn, increase the costs of employee retention strategies and recruitment ones as well. Offering attractive and quality employer paid benefits is important to keep those high impact individuals who support a healthy bottom line!