How well do your employees know your health insurance plan? Besides basic benefits, like co-pay and deductible amounts, are they aware of all your health insurance offerings? As an employer, raising awareness of side benefits, like chiropractic visits, acupuncture, gym reimbursement and fitness trackers, can help your employees feel like they are getting real value for their health insurance dollar, and improve health in the workplace in general.
Spreading the Word About the Perks
Open enrollment seems to be the only time health insurance benefits are thoroughly discussed; elections are made and then forgotten. One way to remind employees about health insurance perks and to encourage improved health in the workplace is by "celebrating" those perks throughout the year. For example, encourage workers to follow through on their New Year's resolutions by using their gym membership reimbursement benefit, or cashing in on their free fitness tracker or pedometer.
This information should be shared through various methods. In emails, you can successfully get the word out about these valuable benefits through visual reminders and verbal reinforcement. Highlighting perks can increase utilization.
Benefits like chiropractic visits or acupuncture, breast pump rentals, smoking cessation programs and teeth cleanings can all be featured throughout the year to ensure that both you and your employee are getting the maximum benefit from your health insurance dollar.
In addition to highlighting these health insurance perks, don't forget to provide information about how your employee can access them. Do they need to check a website? Will they be automatically reimbursed? Make this information accessible and actionable for everyone covered under your health insurance policy.
Promoting Health and Safety in the Workplace
In addition to promoting health insurance perks, some companies have also instituted corporate wellness programs. These programs are designed to reduce illnesses and injuries that can stop an employee from doing his or her job. The CDC Foundation estimates that businesses annually lose approximately $225 billion due to employees who are sick or injured, so a corporate wellness program makes sense financially.
But what does a successful wellness program look like?
Creating a Culture of Wellness
According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the most successful corporate wellness programs are not sporadic, one-off moments. Instead, they permeate the culture of the business itself.
Health in the workplace is most successful when it focuses on the emotional, physical, social and financial health of the employee. This includes flexible schedules, standing or cycling desks, available water stations, fitness classes available at work and access to a mental health program outside the company itself.
HBR referenced the corporate wellness program at Dow Chemical, The Honest Tea company, Johnson and Johnson and USAA. These companies have each found success in promoting health and safety in the workplace by following a number of strategies. Some of these strategies include:
- Leadership modeling and encouraging healthy behaviors.
- Tailoring programs to the wants of your workforce.
- Offering meaningful incentives.
- Communicating the goals and benefits of the program clearly.
Improved health in the workplace can be achieved through purposeful engagement with your management team and the employee. Full use of the benefits that you pay for in your health insurance plan can be a valuable part of a comprehensive health in the workplace plan.