Employee health benefits – including well-being – are often a major hook for attracting and retaining top talent.
But if you’re one of those employers with four or more generations, a traditional health plan could result in dissatisfied employees because of a disjointed program with dozens of underutilized services.
Keep in mind that a Boomer, a Generation X employee, a Millennial and a Gen Z worker will value, and interact with, health benefits differently, said Jason Parrott, SVP of Enterprise Growth and Partnerships at San Francisco-based healthcare tech company Vida Health.
“Everybody has a preference on how they may, or may not, want to engage with their health care, or for the good of their family. So I think we need to be very flexible (in-person, telehealth, text, chat, etc.) and thoughtful about what we bring forward to meet everyone … in a very well-constructed way that can address all those different opportunities,” he said in an episode of the HRMorning podcast “Voices of HR,” titled “Improving Health Benefits Engagement and Utilization: Executing a Best-In-Class Portfolio.”
Is a health benefits update in order?
Parrott suggested that to improve health outcomes, employers must actively assess their health and well-being benefits portfolio to find out how it can be improved and to ensure that the portfolio meets employees’ evolving needs.
“Some of the things I’ve found (to be) very helpful (are) listening to the workforce … surveying, focus groups (and) work environment assessments at different sites and locations to understand what is top of mind with the employees. What is a concern? … ‘If you were king or queen for a day and you had that magic wand, what would be one or two or maybe three things that you would like to change immediately?'” said Parrott.
And then follow that up with, “What are one or two things that you would like to keep?”
Another good question to ask: What would you simplify? Parrott recommended taking an approach that integrates multiple solutions, controls company healthcare spending, improves access and affordability and caters to employees’ mental, physical and preventive health needs in a holistic manner.
And be sure to ask plenty of questions about your medical and pharmacy benefits. According to Parrott, that’s where 80% of your organization’s healthcare spending goes.
That data and your plan’s clinical quality effectiveness metrics can then be used to optimize and refine your organization’s health benefits.
Because a proactive, preventive approach to health is always less expensive than seeking treatment reactively, Parrott offered some ideas on improving engagement with health benefits:
- Educating employees about the higher-value, lower-cost medications out there
- Reminding people to get preventive screenings like physicals, mammograms and colonoscopies, and
- Normalizing mental health services.
For additional expert ideas on improving employee wellness and health awareness, click here.