HR leaders are upping the ante with benefits to help with retention and attraction. And, with inflation concerns, they’re also aware of the rising costs and want to make sure their investments are financially sustainable in the current labor market and volatile economic conditions.
To strike this balance, you must rethink traditional health benefits and support the overall wellbeing of the workforce. How? Meet your employees' physical, financial, career, social, and other varying needs.
In the coming years, the onus is on employers to keep up with rising employee expectations and demands. Here are the future health benefits trends you can expect in 2023 and beyond.
1. Practice Preventive Care And Self-care To Mitigate Health Risks
With health trends, COVID-19 isn’t the only issue at play. Chronic diseases, also known as noncommunicable diseases, are a leading concern affecting 41 million people globally. Reducing noncommunicable diseases is of precedence to organizations for both their employees' health and their business.
How can you manage the risks of noncommunicable health conditions?
The onset of the pandemic has changed the way people look at their health and wellbeing. A study of breast cancer in Taiwan revealed that after the pandemic, diagnosis reduced from 71 percent to 41 percent. The early intervention improved treatment success and cancer survival rates and decreased the cost of claims. This instance perfectly demonstrates the importance of encouraging employees to consider preventive care, such as yearly health check-ups.
Another factor to consider with chronic disease management is access to quality healthcare. With Loop, for instance, our members can teleconsult with specialist doctors without incurring consultation costs. Members can avoid traveling to clinics or hospitals and save on outpatient-related expenses.
Preventive healthcare plays a significant role in employees’ overall health and wellbeing. Early preventive screenings, flu shots, and more help delay or even avoid the onset of chronic conditions. This results in living a healthy life and leads to sizable savings from surgeries, medications, and costly medical care services.
READ MORE: A rich library of resources to help with your preventive care journey.
2. Build Resilience
Organizational change, rivalry, deadlines, and staff cutbacks characterize the modern workplace. Success relies on an individual’s capability to cope and even thrive when they face such stressors. And that’s what resilience is - the ability to ‘bounce back’ when you encounter challenges that are an inevitable part of life.
Why is resilience so important in the work environment?
Resilience helps you develop a positive approach, so you stay motivated during adversity, and solve problems effectively to ensure your work day and tasks are more approachable.
Think of resilience as the strength you require to accomplish your career goals. Particularly, with it, you can:
- Remain motivated whether or not you face a crisis
- Enjoy enhanced communication
- Give and receive help
- Build better relationships in the workplace
- Enjoy better mental health
- Have improved overall health
- Cushion yourself from burnout
- Possess the strength to deal with change
So, how can you build a resilient workforce?
1. Understand the components of resilience
While resilience consists of several facets, here are five key pillars.
2. Discover strengths and weakness
Identify your strengths and weaknesses to help you focus on opportunities for growth and success. One way is to give and receive feedback so you know the areas you need to work on.
3. Enhance emotional wellbeing
Negative thoughts are an obstacle to resilience. Build resilience by turning your negative thoughts into positive ones. Pen down what’s on your mind and analyze it. Eventually, you will train yourself to replace the bad with more realistic, healthier thoughts.
4. Promote inner drive
To prevent things from becoming overwhelming and find greater productivity and success at work, you must be self-driven. Setting goals using the SMART framework helps.
5. Foster future focus
To move forward smoothly and constructively, you must be future-focused. Allow yourself to take a forward-thinking approach. Rather than letting emotions sway your judgment, think logically and critically. Accept your past mistakes and be open to learning and growing.
6. Develop healthy relationships
Developing healthy relationships takes time. Focus your time addressing toxic relations, building genuine connections, and becoming or finding a mentor.
7. Support physical wellbeing
Mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing are all closely linked. When you promote work-life balance, your productivity automatically increases.
8. Provide professional development planning
A key facet of resilience is ongoing development. Put plans in place for professional development, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
3. Focus On Personalization
With today’s diverse workforce and demands, you must think outside the box and beyond traditional benefits as an employer. For instance, not everyone celebrates the same holidays, so giving employees generous time off or flexible work arrangements is popular.
Developing and deepening trust
With health benefits, personalization increases trust by delivering care that’s relevant to the patient in a manner that works best for them and is specific to their health needs at the right time. And when that happens, patients feel like you understand and value their individual needs —which, in turn, builds trust.
For instance, say a patient has an earache. The first action is to connect with a high-quality ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist.
Here’s where Loop comes in. Employees have access to a team of specialists who will take care of all their needs. On the Loop app, you can chat with your dedicated medical advisor (MA) anytime, anywhere.
The role of Loop’s MA in your healthcare journey
Think of the MA as your family doctor or your personalized care partner. You can reach out to your MA whenever you or those covered in the Loop group health insurance plan have a medical concern. The MA will respond within 45 seconds and help you on your healthcare journey to better health.
They’re there with you every step of the way, doing everything from knowing your history inside out to connecting you with high-quality specialists and scheduling lab tests and having detailed discussions about your results. This enables them to provide a personalized and tailored experience. When you eliminate accessibility issues, you’re showing your workforce you care for their health.
4. Emphasize Mental Health - It Is Just As Important
As per Oracle’s 2020 AI@Work Study, compared to previous years, 84% of Indians have experienced more anxiety or stress at work. And 85% say mental health issues in the workplace have a negative impact on their personal or home life.
Adding to the above, nearly every second person, or over 42.5% of Indian corporate staff, experiences anxiety or depression. The cost factor attached to mental health conditions is 1.03 trillion between 2012 and 2030.
Further, the COVID-19 pandemic brought on stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, which caused 50% of employees to experience symptoms of psychological distress. When untreated, this may lead to depression and burnout. Let’s not forget absenteeism and productivity loss.
How can employers take action?
An organization must implement initiatives, create policies, train resources, open channels of communication, and intervene early on. Things like offering employees self-help tools and programs, training management and HRs to identify and handle issues successfully, promoting awareness by sharing resources via internal marketing channels, or opening up ways to access treatment are a step in the right direction. Further, you can:
1. Create a positive workplace by reducing stigma
The first step is to reduce stigma surrounding mental health by encouraging open dialogue. Make resources available that spread awareness and help create an accessible and positive environment, one that attracts talent and fosters engagement.
2. Focus on prevention and early intervention
People spend more than 60% of their time at work and worry about job security, management styles, behaviors of colleagues, deadlines, workload, and more. Before it gets overwhelming, educate your staff about how they can cope with different stressors to help address issues quickly and effectively.
3. Treat issues to reduce impact
How do you know if your team member or coworker is going through a mental illness? You don’t. Hence, it’s best to keep resources in place so anyone can quickly get the help they need. This can be via your health benefits partner, a mental health counselor, online programs, etc.
In today’s times, allowing employees to strike a better work-life balance, formal mental health policies, better work hours and empathy from leaders help cultivate a healthy workforce.
5. Leverage The Benefits Of Telehealth
Telemedicine isn’t exactly new. However, recent advances in technology and the pandemic helped accelerate the adoption of telemedicine and make it more efficient. Today, health benefit providers have transitioned to a virtual-first environment.
According to McKinsey & Company, as of February 2021, telehealth usage was about 38 times greater than it had been one year earlier. With employees and employers seeing the value, the usage of telemedicine will outlast the pandemic due to its sheer convenience.
A few benefits of telehealth
- First, telemedicine is efficient. Those with busy schedules can get rid of commute and wait times. Plus, those in rural areas or mobility problems are a critical part of healthcare delivery.
- It’s also cost-effective. If you’re covered under the Loop group health insurance plan, you have access to quality, personalized care at zero costs.
- There’s also the fact that you can simply avoid going to the doctor’s clinic. It’s not a fun place to spend 30 to 60 minutes waiting and there are chances of catching viruses like COVID-19 or the flu.
- With access, it’s a service that’s available round-the-clock for those from any part of the country. So you can consult with the best specialists right from the comfort of your home.
With Loop, you get access to care that goes beyond traditional health benefits - making available what matters most to you - convenient, high-quality care. Our team of in-house doctors and specialists give you care in a way that fits best into any lifestyle and into the “new normal”.
The personalization of your care journey ensures you stay engaged in your health, resulting in a healthier, happier team with better health outcomes.
Moving From Strategy To Action: Some Final Thoughts
The healthcare market is evolving at lightning speed, with modern players introducing new approaches and innovative models. Employers can enhance the member experience, improve quality and reduce costs with these new offerings.
Loop Pro Tip: Find out where you have room for improvement by evaluating these key elements of your current health benefits program:
1. Primary care
Review your data and see how many employees practice preventive care and manage chronic conditions. Is there room for improvement? With a health benefits partner who offers primary care, you can downstream costs like expensive surgeries, specialist visits, emergency room visits, and more.
2. Quality of provider
Review what your employees need and evaluate various parameters to see where each stands relative to others in the market in terms of quality and cost. This way, you can steer your employees toward partners who offer high-quality care at lower costs.
3. Virtual care
Do your providers offer personalized virtual care services? With digital innovation, you need to find solutions that give your workforce access to better care, reduce urgent or emergent visits, and improve the member experience.
4. Provider network
A wide network hospital can help your employees access care even in remote parts of the country, resulting in significant cost savings and minimal disruption to employees.
Once you identify areas where you think you need change, work with your health benefits provider, like Loop, to achieve your goals.
Read more about Livio’s journey with Loop and how their HR was able to save 99% of her time spent on managing health benefits.