Those of us who develop and market solutions for employee benefits spend a lot of time talking about what HR leadership and companies SHOULD be concerned about. But are we correct? Why are we telling you what YOU should think? For three days, you told us...
Vegas, Baby, Vegas!
Last week our founder and CEO, Adam Goldberg, M.Ed, had the honor of speaking at the Health & Benefit Leadership Conference in Las Vegas. [His IGNITE talk - “Is Family Baggage Really Checked at the Company Door?” - was AWESOME! We are bragging, but we encourage you to take five minutes and listen.] The conference is entirely focused on innovations within employee benefits and what is - and is not - working for HR leaders.
Spending three days talking with HR leaders exposed what really is top of mind and what your concerns are today. Here are the top five concerns we heard from you….what you, HR leaders and brokers, think about in your conference rooms and while at the gym:
Employee Stress is THE Epidemic:
Stress has become a major health and economic epidemic, with serious consequences for both employers and employees. What seems to cause this stress? Workload, finances, work-life balance issues, office conflicts, an ever connected society, and family issues related to children through adult parental care were the top causes mentioned last week related to employee stress. Increasing absenteeism rates and burnout make it difficult for employees to be productive; employers often see a dip in productivity reflected in their bottom line.
Loneliness impacts Productivity:
The rise in loneliness in our society is finally being attributed as another cause of workplace productivity problems. The Harvard Business Review focused an entire cover story on this epidemic last Fall. Loneliness is attributed to major physical health issues, long-term mental health impacts, and a reduction in work performance, creativity and decision making. There are many factors attributing to this rise including workplace exhaustion, burnout, reductions in human connection vs technology, family care responsibilities, increasing substance abuse rates, a lack of employer support when dealing with life stressors, etc.
Financial Wellbeing Concerns Employees:
Financial concerns have risen to the top of employees’ minds. The 2017 PriceWaterhouse Coopers Employee Financial Wellness Survey supports clearly what we heard from HR leaders last week. One in three employees is distracted at work due to financial issues. People simply do not have enough savings and financial wellness in their lives, particularly Millennials. 44% of adults do not have enough money to cover an emergency expense of $500. In addition, the rising costs of caring for a family member has skyrocketed to the point that it’s a $190 billion/year issue for people. No wonder we spent up to three hours a week during work concerned about money.
Engagement with Useful Benefits is a Challenge:
It’s an age-old problem. You’ve brought on brand new, fantastic employee benefits. Now, how do you get your workforce to incorporate it into their daily lives? People are busy at work and home - REALLY busy. We are inundated with emails and information to the point that it is all white noise. The ADP Research Institute® report Employee Benefits Communications: There’s Room for Improvement, found that 81% of HR decision makers at large companies believe it’s important for employees to understand their benefit options. You need customized communications for each benefit that are tailored to your employee demographics and their busy lifestyle - something that they can access at work and at home.
Measuring Wellbeing Programs is Problematic:
Similar to the above, if you can’t get your employees to use your benefits, how are you measuring your return on investment? As an HR leader, you are responsible for a huge aspect of what flows directly into your company’s bottom line. The productivity, engagement, longevity, retention and recruitment of people is your responsibility. But is ROI important? Return on Value? Return on Empathy? At the end of the day, you need to concretely know if the impact of your wellbeing benefits can be and is assessed in a manner that shows an impact on productivity, absenteeism, healthcare costs - something - specific to YOUR company and employee base. Challenge your vendors to demonstrate hard returns, as you have the right - and necessity - to do so.
Where Do We Start?
What we see is that these are all interconnected. There is a root cause that permeates throughout: Families - your People’s People - are involved in every, single one of these five issues - their time and energy demands, their emotional toll, their financial impact, the overall stress on your employees. Are families only problematic - no, of course not. But your employees drag them through the company door daily. We know how to make a measurable dent in this huge problem that is impacting 40 million people in the US at any given time; one in six of them are your employees.
But we don’t live in your mind. So, are we correct? Did we hear you effectively? Let us know - what IS top of your mind and concern?