Employee Health Benefits have a Positive Impact on Productivity and Performance
As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to improve your employees’ productivity and performance; after all, they directly impact your company’s success. There are many factors that can influence productivity and performance – turns out, employee health benefits are one of them.
Productivity, Performance and your Business
As a business owner, there are some things related to the business that are within your control. Others are a little bit harder to influence. How productive your employees are and how they perform are two things that you can influence. Positively influencing productivity and performance is a ‘must’ in order to compete in the marketplace. In fact, it can be a key factor in the success of your business.
Another important ingredient to your company’s success is attracting and retaining the best employees. The right employees can propel your company to the top of your industry. The challenge is to home in on what is impacting productivity and performance at your company and take steps to improve it.
Factors Impacting Productivity and Performance
Two of the largest factors that impact productivity and performance are absenteeism and presenteeism.
- Absenteeism – This refers to an employee being absent from the workplace. Illness or injury are the most common reasons for absence. When an employee is absent, it can be difficult to find a replacement worker. Most often, other employees in the company have to take on additional work to compensate for the absence. Taking on additional work to cover for someone who is absent can mean other goals or tasks are not accomplished. This can have a very real impact on productivity and performance.
- Presenteeism – This refers to an employee who continues to come to work but demonstrates sub-optimal performance due to a variety of factors. Presenteeism often occurs when an ill or injured employee comes to work. It can be as a result of a common cold, chronic health condition, mental health challenge or more. Presenteeism is a problem not only because it’s a drain on productivity, but also because it can impact others. If an employee comes to work when they are sick, it can cause a domino effect where others in the office get sick as well. Presenteeism is difficult to measure but definitely a drain on productivity and performance.
Company culture plays a huge role in absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace. If workers feel shamed for calling in sick, they are likelier to come to work sick. This leads to presenteeism and potentially more people getting sick. Another determinant is whether or not an employee receives sick pay. Without sick benefits, an ill or injured employee may choose to ‘tough it out and go to work (presenteeism) because they don’t want to forgo their pay.
The Positive Impact of Employee Health Benefits
Employee health benefits are an important tool for recruitment and retention. They can also have a positive impact on productivity and performance. They do this by addressing and preventing absenteeism and presenteeism.
An employee health benefits plan that focuses on health and well-being can reduce illness-related absences. A wellness focus can help prevent chronic disease (a common cause behind presenteeism and absenteeism). Companies that don’t offer health benefits may be trading benefits-related cost savings for different, harder-to-measure costs (presenteeism and productivity loss).
Providing employees with a health benefits plan is part of the solution, but equally important is providing good communication about the plan. Employees need to understand what benefits they have, know how to use the benefits, and feel it’s acceptable to do so. If employees feel the plan is difficult to access, they won’t use it; this results in a failed attempt to address absenteeism and presenteeism.
Benefits that Matter
The right employee benefits plan can help address injury or illness when it occurs as well as prevent it from occurring in the first place. With employee benefits, an illness that could drain productivity for weeks (in the form of presenteeism) has the potential to be remedied in days.
Some key benefits that can have a direct impact on productivity and performance include:
Extended Health Benefits – The most high-profile of extended health benefits is prescription drug coverage. Prescription drugs can address short-term or chronic health conditions, minimizing presenteeism and absenteeism. An employee who does not have prescription drug coverage is more likely to choose NOT to fill a prescription, leaving health conditions untreated.
Other extended health benefits such as massage therapy, physiotherapy and chiro can address injuries, stress and more. They can also help prevent negative health events. This coverage means an employee with a sore back might have it resolved through massage therapy or physio, as opposed to ‘toughing it out and coming to work and performing at a sub-optimal level.
Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – Access to 24/7 support for mental health is the cornerstone of an employee and family assistance program. In-person or remote counselling services and other tools for mental health can have a direct impact on presenteeism and absenteeism. Many absences are due to mental health; access to counselling can help address mental health challenges, which means fewer absences. Stress or other mental health challenges can easily contribute to presenteeism as well as absenteeism.
Providing employees with access to an EFAP can help prevent a negative mental health event or treat a mental health challenge if it occurs.
Virtual Healthcare – A relatively new addition to employee benefit plans, virtual healthcare gives employees the ability to connect with a doctor or nurse practitioner, 24/7. This means physical and mental health conditions are addressed more promptly so employees can focus on getting better. This can have a very real impact on productivity and performance.
Disability management services – These services support an injured or ill employee when an absence occurs. A case manager helps the employee navigate the absence and supports them in accessing medical services and support. These services can help shorten the length of the absence. This is good for productivity because it reduces the number of days of absence, but it also impacts other employees in the company. Employees who find themselves carrying the workload of the absent worker can return their full attention to their job sooner, improving their performance.
Wellness Benefits – Much more common these days, wellness benefits encourage employees to improve their physical and mental well-being. This means prioritizing a healthy diet, physical fitness and mental health. Wellness benefits are aimed at preventing negative physical and mental health events. Focusing on wellness can have a positive impact on productivity and performance because it can help prevent chronic health problems or even something as simple as a common cold.
Good Advice is Key
Is your employee health benefits plan optimized to have a positive impact on productivity and performance? If you don’t already offer benefits, have you considered how a benefits plan can improve productivity and performance? Explore your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.
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