At the LIVEWELL 2018 Summit, we listened to experts in the medical, business and benefits industries discuss innovations in workplace wellness and employee benefits. The following highlights are extracted from Progressive Benefits and the Value of Investment, a presentation by Naomi Titleman, Vice President, Talent, and Perry Hassen, Director, Analytics.
Yesterday’s benefits no longer work
For years, employee benefit programs were heavily focused on health insurance. But with the immense diversity of today’s Canadian population, the HR community must shift gears to view benefits as a way to engage their workforce, drive productivity, and yield meaningful results for their organization. If they don’t serve the needs of employees, benefit programs can impose more harm than good on the system, generating unnecessary costs for employers.
Start with WHY
Before HR can get executive teams to pay attention to the value of progressive benefits, they must be able to convince them of their importance. In other words, they must be able to speak to the ‘why’: escalating healthcare costs, a prevalence of chronic health conditions, rising absence and disability costs, mental and financial stress challenges and an aging population.
One of the biggest challenges in our organizations is the prevalence of chronic health conditions and diseases, like high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression. These can lead to fatigue, trouble concentrating, leaving the office for healthcare appointments, and other interruptions to workplace productivity.
Strategy meets simplicity
Once seen as a nice-to-have, corporate wellness is becoming a strategic company priority. The most successful benefit programs seamlessly connect to the purpose and corporate strategy of its organization, and is presented in a way that’s easy to understand.
Start by defining the scope: What are the real objectives of the program? What behaviours and results do you want to drive through this benefits program as a component of your wellness strategy? Furthermore, will it be implemented all at once or over time? What will your external partners require? Finally, what will your key message be? What do you want your employees to know, do, or reflect on before they change their benefit options for the following year?
How do you know that a progressive benefit program will drive the behaviours and financial results you want in your organization? Some companies are starting to measure conventional ROI (reduced healthcare costs, sick days and disability claims), while the more progressive ones are now examining the Value of Investment.
It’s all about assessment
Employee data is on the minds of many of today’s organizations. At Medcan, it’s all about understanding how available insights can be used both in measurement and to inform decision-making. Before you can design a progressive benefit plan, you need to really know what your corporate population looks like – one of the many benefits of clinical outcome data. In doing so, you’ll have the tools to create a program that will truly inspire your employees to be well.
At Medcan, AHA is king
The Annual Health Assessment (AHA) is Medcan’s richest source of company data. A wide variety of information – from cardiovascular measures and diabetes risk factors to nutrition and fitness scores – is compiled from thousands of AHA participants each year. When we combine clinical information with our own employee metrics and insurance claim data, we arrive at a very robust ROI and VOI opportunity number.
A new offering at Medcan, stewardship reports provide a thorough review of our corporate population’s health. Doctor-reviewed to draw key insights and recommendations, they paint a complete picture of the Medcan experience and demonstrate the value provided. The three key sections within the report include utilization, satisfaction level and a clinical outcome deep-dive.
The cost of high-risk employees
High-risk employees are more sedentary, overweight, smoke cigarettes and drink excessive alcohol. They have a 50% increased risk of absence in the workplace, and have healthcare costs that are 2-3 times greater than their low-risk colleagues. Based on this information, we know that high-risk employees can cost employers up to $8,000 per year, while low-risk employees cost about $3,000 per year.