What does it mean to be healthy? There are so many definitions and factors that impact health. Disease management, mental wellness, healthy eating, fitness, financial security; the list goes on.

In a country where divorce can have the same impact on health as diabetes, employee benefit strategies must challenge what companies have offered in the past and address employee health holistically. That means thinking beyond traditional insurance and retirement benefits and addressing the other factors that affect your employees’ total well-being — and, ultimately, their productivity in the workplace.

Veer Gidwaney
Veer Gidwaney

As employees increasingly look for work-life integration over work-life balance, it’s more important than ever to curate benefit packages that address their needs and the needs of their families — both at work and at home. Innovative companies like Google have set the standard when it comes to employee-based benefits strategies, but you don’t have to drop that kind of dough to reap recruitment, retention, and productivity benefits.

Benefits employees actually want

Insurance is a baseline requirement in today’s recruiting market, and for younger, healthy employees, it’s less relevant today than ever before. If you’re looking to recruit (and retain) the best of the best, you can’t rely on insurance alone to stand apart from the pack; you must contextualize that within a curated package relevant to your employees.

Regardless of whether your benefits package is unmatched, it’s useless if your employees don’t know how to apply them in their lives. Make sure you engage with them on their terms and help your employees get the most out of their benefits. Do this by ensuring they have solutions at their fingertips to fill in the gaps in coverage. Consider, for example, a healthcare concierge and advocacy service to help your employees use their benefits and navigate the healthcare system.

Financial trouble can be a huge stress, too. Benefits like a health savings account, a flexible spending account, or a health reimbursement account can ease the financial burden of medical expenses. A matching 401(k) is an awesome offering, but that only addresses one aspect of financial wellness, and leveraging it effectively is critical. Think about retirement savings optimization solutions or identity theft protection services as important complements to the standard 401(k) offering. Everything should be focused on addressing employees’ stresses and making their lives easier.

A drop in the bucket for major ROI

A people-centric benefits strategy isn’t just good for your employees — it’s good for business. Preventative measures are much cheaper than premium increases and yield serious returns in terms of employee health and happiness. According to a RAND Corporation report, every dollar invested in disease management yields a return of $3.80, and every dollar invested in lifestyle management nets fifty cents. Initial investments in health and wellness translate into healthier employees and lower premiums in the long run.

Of course, companies don’t even need to cover entire costs of services to reap the benefits. They can offer discount codes, defined dollar-amount coverage, or percentage coverage. Simply raising awareness of an existing, cost-effective option can help (even if a company can’t offer to cover it).

If you’re a self-funded organization, a health care transparency solution is critical to help your employees shop for care. If you have leaner benefit strategies — maybe you can only sponsor 50% of the medical premium — providing access to holistic benefits is a way to create a richer package without much more of a financial investment. Investing in a concierge service or telemedicine product, similarly, might also save you money on claims in the long run, opening up more funds for you to invest in your employees down the road.

Too many employers settle for reactive measures in their benefit strategies rather than offering preventative or even proactive measures. By providing holistic benefits, you’ll minimize employees’ mental, physical, and financial stress and help them stay healthier throughout every aspect of their lives.

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Veer Gidwaney

Veer Gidwaney

Gidwaney is CEO and co-founder of Maxwell Health, a company that simplifies benefits and HR for small- to mid-sized employers.