Resiliency and Balance are the Hot OE Trends for 2023!
With the 2023 open enrollment season here, HR and benefits professionals are elbow deep in budgets and projections and trying to find ways to save the company money all while enhancing the benefits package. This is no easy feat!
On one hand, the finance team and the CEO are screaming that the organization needs to save money due to skyrocketing healthcare costs and inflation. On the other hand, there is the operations team, talent acquisition team and let’s face it, every other employee in the company, feeling that the organization needs to do the exact OPPOSITE and add more programs, lower employee contributions, and expand the benefits to compete for talent in this tight talent market and keep the current employees happy.
What should poor benefits manager do?
Forward-thinking benefit managers can create strategies that can be a powerful differentiator – ultimately helping the company demonstrate its commitment to its employees while being managed in a way that controls costs and mitigates a toxic work environment.
Research shows that the costs of toxic work cultures can be more serious in terms of overall wellbeing than we imagine – in fact, a study published by the British Medical Journal shows that a negative work environments can increase employees’ risk of depression and other psychological factors.
Benefits managers are focused on two key areas for 2023, resiliency and work/life balance – helping employees effectively manage the pressures of work and helping them enjoy their time away outside the office. This combination creates the most productive and happy employee. Without employees who are resilient and have work/life balance, organizations cannot thrive, they can only survive.
According to the “Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone” article in Forbes, “one study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. Happy employees are also good news for organizations: The stock prices of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, while companies not on the list only reported a 6% increase.”
There is a direct tie between resiliency, balance, and happiness. The first step is to measure how mental health issues are impacting the organization. Benefits managers need to partner with an organization that can measure the risk factors to identify burnout, stress, and anxiety. Through this data benefit managers can determine employee flight risk figures as well as healthcare cost and productivity impact. With this information benefit managers are armed with the data needed to build a business case to support programs and policies that strengthen resiliency and create work life/balance for employees to improve overall happiness ultimately impacting the success of the organization.
Once the data has been collected and analyzed it will be crystal clear to senior leaders that there is a workplace crisis on their hands. At this point, benefit managers need to provide actionable and effective solutions.
By reimagining the support that is provided to employees to build resiliency and what programs are provided to create effective work/life balance, organizations can be successful in creating a positive overall life experience for employees.
Here are some creative ideas to do just that…
Optimizing Paid time Off
97% of employers offer paid time off (PTO), however, very few achieve the greatest ROI for their spend. Benefits managers need to revisit how PTO is calculated and more importantly supported. Employers who provide, and require employees to take quarterly PTO, for example Chatbooks, and companies that provide a vacation stipend, for example BambooHR, both achieve greater ROI (increased productivity and employee happiness) then those organizations that just provide paid time off. To achieve the greatest ROI, employers need to combine the required time, the stipend, and a tool for employees to also save for vacations – a Vacation Funding Account. 401(play) offers employees and employers a tool to help them plan, save, budget and book travel at a discount. Combining all these programs together achieves optimized PTO. That’s money an employer can take to the bank.
Bringing burnout to the forefront in employee conversations.
Managers need to have open dialogs with employees around burnout, anxiety, and stress. This isn’t something that comes naturally, therefore organizations need to put in resources to help managers have these discussions. Helping managers identify the key indicators of these conditions and training them properly to address employees is critical. If managers do not know what to say and they feel they are over-stepping privacy laws by saying something, there is a risk that the employee will feel alienated, and the manager will feel helpless. Finding an organization that can train managers, at all levels, regarding what can/cannot be said to an employee that’s struggling is instrumental in employees feeling heard and cared for. Most Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s), have training in this area.
Providing financial tools to support everyday life.
Helping employees become fiscally sound is more than just a paycheck. Employers have a responsibility to have tools and resources in place to help employees manage their debt, save for retirement, and have enough disposable income to enjoy today. A debt management program should be a staple in every employee benefit program. Debt management programs help employees reduce their debt by negotiating with creditors and providing an easy and convenient way to pay down debt. Money Management International, is a 60+ year old non-profit organization that has been helping employees get out of and stay out of debt. For a more robust, concierge financial wellness benefit, Planning Grounds offers employees a personal financial advisor to strengthen their financial lives.
By thinking outside the box benefit managers can be a driving force in creating a culture that employees can do their best work, enjoy their lives, provide their best selves to ultimately increase the value of the organizations they work for!