The vast majority of employers with 50 or more employees are still offering health insurance, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act back in 2010. Why do they do it? Employer funded health insurance still seems to be the key employee benefit that matters most to prospective employees. But if everyone is still doing the same thing, how can you stand out from the crowd? Below are a few essential categories that top performing companies value.
Know Your Services & Products
What benefits are you actually offering to your employees right now? Your insurance plans themselves are just one aspect. Insurance companies have built many features into their plans, with the intent of helping decrease employee/employer costs and create a better user experience. This could be workplace wellbeing platforms, telemedicine, mobile apps, enhanced website features, financial wellbeing tools, and more.
Do you know what all your current plans offer? Are you taking advantage of all of those offerings? Have you educated your employees about them? Keep in mind, not all benefits come from something you purchase. Have you asked your employees why they stay?
Once you know what you’re offering, it’s time to compare your company with the competition. You’ll likely want to benchmark your premiums, your policies, and your offerings with those of other local companies, like industries, companies of a similar size, etc. While that data can be somewhat cryptic, a good consultant can help you make heads or tails of it.
Know Your People
What benefits do your employees want or need? Have you asked? Due to the stark contrasts in workforce demographics, the scope of desired benefits can vary wildly. Some benefits that are commonly overlooked or understated by the employer include paid time off, holiday pay, creative workspaces, preferred parking, vending options, personal access to company resources, employee recognition events, and employee assistance programs.
Consider defining the ideal employee and from where you would expect to attract them. Decent medical insurance, at least average pay, and paid holidays are nearly universally expected. What is different about your company that would attract a new employee? Remember to ask!
Know The Rules
Do you know what all you can and can’t do regarding employee benefits? The Affordable Care Act is now 7 years old. But it is only one of the many governmental regulations and agencies impacting your plans. The DOL, IRS, HHS, CMS, ADA, EEOC, and NLRB are just a few of those that can potentially have oversight of your benefit plans. Awaiting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is a not a viable long-term strategy. The war for talent will still exist long after the next major upheaval in medical insurance.
Know Your ROI
Are your benefits working? Potential factors to consider when looking at the ROI of your benefits include turnover, employee engagement target scores, absenteeism, self-funded health plan costs, and health plan claims costs. It’s not as easy as 1+1=2. Determining what to measure in advance is almost as important as the measurement itself. If reducing turnover by 10% is the desired outcome, a big part of your measurement has to be the “why” employees are leaving and the “why” they are staying. Only then can you make a reasonable judgement about how your changes in benefits have impacted your turnover.
The cost of health insurance often dictates the conversation around employee benefits. Only when companies stop and look at the broad picture of everything they do differently to attract and keep employees do they realize just how much additional time, energy, and money they spend on ALL employee benefits. By understanding the unique characteristics of your workforce, your company and processes, and what is possible as you move forward, your company will be better suited to meet the needs and wants of your most valuable asset, your people.