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Employers Should Reevaluate Their Benefits Offerings


As the pandemic landscape continues to change, employers and employees alike are anticipating an adjustment to benefits packages in reaction to how people altered their approach to overall health and self-care after a difficult two years.

In fact, 62% of employees think employee benefits are more important now because of the pandemic, and 74% of employers plan to expand their overall benefits and wellness strategy in 2021. The benefits renaissance is here, and it’s an incredible opportunity to showcase benefits and highlight the role they have in keeping employees safe, healthy and fulfilled.


However, determining how to approach employees’ changing needs in a new working environment can be difficult. Here are three steps to ensure your benefit offerings are competitive and bring value to your employees’ lives –– without a big lift for your team.

Step 1: Evaluate Employees’ Needs and Communicate Effectively

To develop the ideal suite of benefits that addresses the needs of today’s world, it’s critical to first reevaluate the needs of your population and find out exactly where employees are at mentally and physically coming out of quarantine. At the same time, it’s proven that clear employer-to-employee communication is needed to ensure employees are holistically healthy.

When it comes to mental and physical health, people faced different challenges over the past year, but weight gain is a prevailing trend that has impacted many throughout the pandemic. A recent study found that, on average, people gained more than half a pound every 10 days during the pandemic, making now a great opportunity for employers to offer benefits that can prevent obesity-related disease and help avoid high-cost claims down the road from newly at-risk employees. 

However, a major roadblock when it comes to benefits engagement is that employees often aren’t even aware of what is offered to them, which is why it’s so important to revamp communication practices. That way, employees not only know what is available, but they also feel comfortable engaging with and utilizing programs that will result in immeasurable benefits.

Step 2: Focus on Root Causes

Given the state of employee health, HR leaders and employers are faced with determining what offerings are most impactful at addressing the root cause of health concerns and offering resources that directly align with these needs.

It’s common for employers to offer benefits and perks that help an employee in the moment, instead of offering a solution that sets them up for long-term success. For example, employers offer wellness reimbursements for things like gym memberships to encourage employees to get fit, but it’s more effective to offer weight management solutions that allow employees to approach their health holistically, focusing on the root causes of weight gain and associated chronic illnesses.

By focusing on the root cause of weight gain instead of providing benefits and solutions that address just losing weight, you’re giving employees the resources to develop healthy and sustainable skills that will improve their lives for years to come.

Step 3: Offer Hyper-Personalized Solutions at Scale by Leveraging Digital Tools

With more than 300,000 health-related applications on the market, there’s a clear indication that digital health tools are perfectly suited to meet everyone’s needs, meaning employer-offered benefits should follow suit. Diversity and inclusion remain top of mind for business leaders, which also needs to be demonstrated through the benefits provided by catering them to all employee backgrounds and needs. According to employees, the nice-to-haves are now need-to-haves. Digital offerings that focus on personalization and are easy to use have greater usage and adoption. In fact, 82% of employees say they’d increase their participation if programs were more personalized.

At the end of the day, businesses that do not focus on addressing the root cause of chronic illnesses risk millions of dollars a year on lost productivity or turnover costs, especially considering employees are willing to take pay cuts to work for employers that prove they truly care for their staff.

Thus, it’s not only the right thing to do, but offering benefits that specifically target employee concerns and offer them the resources they want, like a community-based program or personalization, will result in healthier, happier and more productive employees, which will ensure the success of the business for the long-term.  

Relevant WorldatWork Resources

About the Author

Emily Taylor is the chief human resource officer and chief financial officer at Wondr Health.


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