How the Ukraine Crisis is Affecting the U.S. Workforce
Healthcare is more important than ever to U.S. employees.
Research by One Medical, a primary care organization, and Workplace Intelligence, an HR and advisory firm, revealed that 65% of workers would give up a wide range of perks, including paid vacation, flexible hours and bonuses for better health benefits.
A critical component of any comprehensive healthcare program is preventive care, which aims to prevent disease by improving people’s overall health and wellness. The COVID-19 pandemic had the most harmful effects on people with pre-existing health conditions. An effective preventive care program could help reduce future risks by increasing the population’s overall health.
Employers would benefit too. Some of the key benefits to employers include:
Reducing Costs and Improving Productivity
Preventive care can save employers money in the long run. For example, screenings, vaccinations, and health counseling can help employees stay healthy and reduce the risk of developing severe health problems
It can also lead to a decline in absenteeism and presenteeism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), absenteeism alone costs organizations as much as $225.8 billion per year (or $1,685 per employee) in lost productivity.
This figure doesn’t consider the losses resulting from employees working when they are sick or under the effects of chronic diseases and other factors, such as stress, depression and fatigue.
When employers provide preventive care, employee engagement also rises. When workers feel that an employer cares about their health, they are more likely to be engaged in their work.
Research shows that companies with highly engaged employees are 22% more profitable than their counterparts. According to Gallup, high employee engagement also reduces absenteeism by 41%.
Improving Attraction and Retention of Talent
With the existing talent shortage, it is becoming increasingly difficult for employers to find and retain top talent. A study by Zenefits of 600 U.S. companies revealed that 63.3% of businesses find it more challenging to keep employees than to hire them. Overall, it costs U.S. employers $2.9 million per day to look for replacement workers.
Offering a competitive benefits package that includes preventive care can help reduce these costs by improving employee retention rates. According to a survey from America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP), 56% of employees considered health coverage a key factor when deciding if they would remain with their current employer.
Preventive Care Only Works If Employees Use It
Preventive care is only effective if employees are aware of what services they have access to. They also need to understand what is necessary and when.
According to a survey of more than 1,600 employees conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, Maryland, only 8% of participants accessed preventive services.
One way to encourage employees to use these services is to offer them incentives, such as discounts on health insurance premiums. Other potential incentives include flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, and paid time off for wellness-related activities.
Another way to encourage employees to take advantage of preventive care programs is by providing educational materials. Unfortunately, many employees aren’t aware of the benefits of preventive care and how it can help them avoid serious health problems in the future. They also
don’t know what services they have access to or how to use them.
Employers can also help by making access to preventive care easier. For example, on-site clinics or partnering with local health providers can make it more convenient for employees to get the care they need when they need it.
Preventive Care Is a Smart Investment with Big Dividends in the Long Run
Offering preventive care is a win-win for both employers and employees. Employees are more productive and engaged. They’re also less likely to miss work due to illness.
Employers who offer this perk are seen as being more caring and concerned about the wellbeing of their employees, which can help improve employee morale and make the organization more attractive to job seekers.
Although it is essential to encourage employees to use the services available, employers can help by making it easier for employees to access preventive care.
Incorporating preventive care into the employee benefits package is a wise investment for employers that can pay off in the form of a healthier, more engaged and productive workforce.
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