6 strategies to scale your benefits for today’s flexible workforce
As many organizations move on to the next phase of the pandemic, not everyone will return to work as before, and employees may have different expectations than a year ago. How do these ongoing changes affect how HR should consider moving forward with the health and wellness benefits of their employees? Employees use their benefits differently than before COVID, so it’s time to take a step back to consider what the long-term effects might be and how the benefits should be changed as a result. Consider these six strategies to help evolve employee benefits for this new era:
Focus more on mental health
The challenges of the past year have resulted in increased stress, anxiety, depression and uncertainty among employees. As employees and their family members begin to navigate the next phase, now is the opportunity to introduce new programs or improve existing offerings to better support mental health and well-being.
For example, integrating your employee assistance program with other benefits can increase awareness and streamline access to available services, helping employees more easily connect to tips, workshops and related resources. when they need it most. Add or continue to provide access to counseling by telemedicine. We have learned that behavioral health counseling is not only effective, it improves access to mental health services at a time when these resources can be difficult to find in many parts of the country.
Read more: Ginger and Headspace announce merger in mental health
By standardizing mental health supports, employers can also help reduce the stigma surrounding seeking help. Integrate information about mental health initiatives into larger campaigns to help employees take charge of their health and well-being. It can further help reduce stigma and demonstrate the organization’s renewed focus on mental health.
Integrate resources to navigate care
Due to the pandemic, many people have delayed procedures or ignored important aspects of their medical care over the past year. This can have long-term impacts on their well-being, making it essential to provide tools and programs that help employees and their families get back on track. Launching or raising awareness of services that can help employees navigate between their health and benefits can provide them with the support they need to take charge of their well-being again.
If employees have moved or switched to telecommuting full-time, these changes can also impact how they use their benefits. They may need help understanding new offerings as well as the options best suited to their particular situation. Providing expert-led services can also help them find new doctors closer to home, transfer medical records, book appointments and more. Providing this support shows employees that their employer puts their best interests first and wants to ensure they have the resources they need to make this transition a success, whether it’s back to work or on a flexible permanent schedule or remotely.
Read more: Online Vision Care Should Be the Next ‘Big Thing’ in Health Care
Offer flexible and personalized options
Even when workplaces reopen, many employees may continue to telecommute some or all of the time. Maybe this new flexibility allowed them to relocate. For employers, these changes mean reviewing existing benefit programs and adapting them to meet changing needs. This may include the need to modify benefit programs to expand access to health care for people working remotely or in different parts of the country, looking at provider networks and pharmacy benefits. Additionally, providing employees with multiple channels to access their benefits, such as mobile, online and over the phone, can ensure convenience and engagement wherever they are. These resources can be targeted to provide personalized alerts and information specific to each employee’s health needs.
It is also important to keep these changes in mind when considering biometric screenings and employer-sponsored influenza vaccination programs. While on-site events remain a valuable tool in helping employees take charge of their health, providing a voucher option for employees working remotely to take advantage of these services in a convenient way will improve attendance rates.
Develop well-being resources
Virtual workshops, contests and more have been available for some time now, but COVID-19 has prompted many program providers and employers to introduce additional tools designed to keep people connected and engaged in their health. Even if some people return to work, it will be important to maintain and adapt these efforts.
Read more: The Granite List Provides a Digital Marketplace for Benefit Purchases
For example, providing access to apps focused on fitness or mindfulness allows employees and their families to find the right solution for their goals. Additionally, offering employees the ability to connect with colleagues to explore wellness topics keeps them connected, whether they are in the workplace or working remotely. Of course, support from wellness coaches and phone and online coaching helps employees create personalized strategies to meet their unique needs.
Maintain the expansion of telehealth
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth boomed like never before, both in terms of the number of visits and the apps to use this option. Whether it is filling the emergency care niche or expanding into virtual primary care and specialist consultations, telehealth is meeting more needs than ever before. Across health care, it is recognized that many more areas of medicine lend themselves to a telehealth approach than previously thought.
Although many healthcare providers have reopened their offices to in-person visits, it is still extremely helpful to continue to provide employees with access to telehealth consultations. From solving minor health concerns to scheduling regular check-ups for chronic illnesses, telehealth provides a convenient and cost-effective option for employees and their families to receive care. Make sure your coverage extends to telehealth visits with employee providers or provide options to access care in the evenings and weekends when traditional providers may not be available.
Renewing the focus on community
With so many people working remotely over the past year, it has been difficult for employees to maintain the connections with their colleagues who help create a positive company culture. Whether employees return to the workplace or remain virtual, there are opportunities for organizations to help strengthen or rebuild this sense of community within their workforce.
Creative initiatives can help maintain a sense of community within the organization. In addition to fun activities like virtual group lunches or competitions, thinking holistically and integrating physical and mental well-being into new programs benefits both the organization and its employees. From workshops and wellness challenges to enhanced, multi-channel communications, these metrics can help employees connect wherever they are. For employees working from home, encourage screen breaks as well as virtual or in-person meetings with co-workers to discuss work-related and non-work-related topics. Providing employees with the means to stay in touch with their employer and colleagues can help strengthen the corporate culture wherever people are.
It is important to prioritize the benefits and programs that bring value to employees and their families in their daily lives, keeping in mind that their life may be very different from what it was two years ago. . Continuing to meet employees wherever they are and providing resources that reflect the culture of the company and instill in the community will make a positive difference as we all move on to what comes next.