Sponsoring an employee health benefits plan for your organization is important for so many reasons, which is why having a good strategy that is driving the plan is vital. Developing a good strategy maximizes the return you’ll see on your investment. This makes sense from a financial perspective, but also because you want to be as effective as possible when supporting your employees with benefits.
Building an employee health benefits strategy for your business means planning for the future. The first step is to examine where your plan is right now, and where you want it to be in the future. Then you’ll work with your provider to develop a multi-year strategy that identifies the steps you need to take to bridge the gap between your current plan, and the plan you want to deliver in the future.
Having a strategy helps ensure resources aren’t wasted. Benefits should be an evolving process and you want to make sure that changes and improvements build upon each other. This takes planning.
You’ll need to ensure you have the right employee benefits provider for this journey. Shopping your plan around every few years is time-consuming and costly. If you’ve partnered with the right provider than instead of wasting those resources changing providers, they can be deployed elsewhere in your organization. The right provider is someone who shares your philosophy on benefits and can support you and your business now and in the future.
Building Blocks of a Strategy
An effective employee health benefits strategy for your business requires a number of components. Hashing out the details around each component is important so that the strategy can be effectively executed.
One of the most important components of an effective employee health benefits strategy is clearly defined goals. What are you trying to accomplish by sponsoring the benefits plan? Are you focused on supporting employees? Improving recruitment and retention efforts? Maybe a combination?
One goal shared by virtually all plans is to create a benefits plan that is sustainable. This means that you’ll have the financial resources to support the plan as more employees join the organization or as costs increase.
Once you know what you’re trying to accomplish with the benefits plan (your goals), you’ll need to develop a budget for the benefits plan. How much money can you allocate to this important investment? What tax savings can you expect to see as a result of sponsoring the plan? If plan costs increase in the future, do you have a financial strategy to address it?
You may consider a cost-sharing arrangement so that you and your employees share the cost of the benefits. This can be an effective way of encouraging employees to help contain costs for the plan.
As part of the budget, you should also consider ways to control costs. It’s helpful to target some of the biggest cost drivers, such as prescription drugs and disability. What steps can you take to control prescription drug spend and disability, while still supporting your employees? The right employee benefits provider should have suggestions.
3. Employee Wants and Needs
If you want to effectively meet your goals for the plan, you’ll have to be clear on which benefits you should include in the plan. Finding out which benefits your employees need and want is crucial. Your benefits provider can review the demographics of your employee base and make suggestions. They can provide intel on new, non-traditional benefits that may be available.
You may also want to survey your employees to get real feedback on which benefits they value the most. A confidential survey is usually the best way to get honest feedback. You need this information in order to build a strategy to best meet your employees’ needs now and in the future.
An important part of your employee health benefits strategy (that is often overlooked) is communication. In order to accomplish the goals of your plan, your employees must know which benefits are available and how to use them. It sounds simple, but research shows that far too often employees don’t have that knowledge.
How will you teach your employees about the benefits that are available to them? Will you have meetings? Provide communication materials? Use your company intranet? Including this info in your health benefits strategy is an important way to support the goals of your plan.
Result of a Good Strategy
A well-executed employee benefits strategy can contribute to a number of positive outcomes for your business. If you’ve developed the right strategy and it is executed well, your employee benefits plan can differentiate your business from the competition. This can help with recruitment and retention. Attracting the best employees and keeping them employed with your organization can make a real difference to productivity and your finances.
A good employee benefits plan sends a message that you care about your employees. It helps them feel valued. When they feel this way, they’re more loyal to your organization and they’re more productive. An effective benefits plan can also improve the health of your employees. Healthier, happier employees have fewer absences and less presenteeism.
Good Advice is Key
Taking the time to build an employee health benefits strategy for your business directly impacts the effectiveness of your benefits plan. Need some help getting started? 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.