5 reasons to invest in onsite healthcare for your employees
Between the physical ailments from COVID and the mental and emotional strain caused by stress, worry and isolation, the past two years have taken a heavy toll on the workforce and the organizations that employ them.
From late December 2021 to early January 2022 alone, some nine million people missed work due to the spike in Omicron cases, and millions more suffered significant mental health crises, adding a immeasurably higher number of lost days and lost productivity.
Related: Infographic: Impact of the pandemic on employee mental health and productivity
At the same time, employers are facing an unprecedented shortage of workers and a huge change in attitude towards work. Overall, people are demanding better treatment and more flexibility from employers and rejecting the workaholic mentality that has dominated our culture for decades, leading to the Great Resignation. Meanwhile, baby boomers have seized the opportunity to retire in droves, leaving employers scrambling to attract millennials and Gen Z, who bring a very different set of demands and expectations.
All of this created a perfect storm with a severe impact on productivity, innovation and profitability. According to some estimates, the reduction in working hours worldwide this year is expected to be equivalent to the loss of 52 million full-time jobs, a blow for organizations of all sizes.
To recover and thrive in the future, companies need to take a more active role in supporting the overall health of their workforce. While offering benefits – both physical and mental health coverage – was a start, these have become table stakes. Employers must do more. As BlackRock’s Larry Fink said in his annual letter to CEOs, companies that fail to adapt to this new reality do so at their peril. Health is becoming a major business function, which means we need to invest in more innovative ways to maintain a healthy workplace.
Providing on-site health care services is one of the best ways to provide comprehensive health and wellness care to meet employee demand. And with more flexible and innovative offerings in healthcare, it’s becoming much more feasible with outsourced services that help companies deliver a differentiated employee experience focused on employee well-being. Here are five ways to invest in onsite healthcare services to give your business a competitive edge.
1. Better understand employee needs and how to meet them.
Not only has the pandemic created a huge backlog of delayed care, but employees are also facing a wide range of new health issues. From long COVID, stress-related illnesses and substance use disorders to repetitive stress injuries due to poor work-from-home ergonomics, your employees’ health needs have likely changed significantly, and probably not for the better.
By providing access to onsite care, companies can learn more about the new and ongoing needs of their employees (anonymously, of course), when that information would otherwise be scattered among a wide range of medical providers. Based on this knowledge, companies can offer more targeted solutions to help address key issues, whether it’s better ergonomics, stress management solutions, healthy eating, physical fitness support or mental health care.
2. Reduce wasted appointment time.
Going to the doctor for a simple check-up or to the lab for routine blood tests can be time-consuming, especially now that providers are overwhelmed and understaffed. What equates to a 15-minute well visit or 10-minute blood draw can take an hour or more, including waiting time, not to mention the commute time to and from work.
Providing basic care services on-site eliminates this wasted time, allowing employees to access the care they need immediately, or at least at their convenience. This is a tangible benefit for the worker and greater overall productivity for the employer’s operations. Lost time and lost productivity are no longer spent on routine medical visits.
3. Take the hassle out of scheduling appointments for employees.
Even with great health benefits, employees still have to take the time to book healthcare appointments and typically have to wait days or weeks to see a provider. In the case of mental health, going to see a therapist or counselor can take months, while employees struggle to keep going under the weight of their physical or mental burdens.
With on-site healthcare services, employees don’t have to compete with out-of-town patients for appointment times, allowing them to access care faster. Health services provided by their employer are now structured around the needs of the employee. This allows them to get treatment and start on the road to recovery much faster, which benefits their overall health and business bottom line while creating a much happier workforce.
4. Collect data to better quantify risks.
Insurers determine premium costs based on the aggregate risk of the insured population, taking into account factors such as the health of the total population, geography, etc. Some programs like fitness memberships and health management incentives can help reduce insurance costs by reducing chronic disease, but these rates are still based on actuarial calculations involving larger populations.
By bringing health care services onsite, companies can collect accurate (anonymous) health data about their employees to better quantify their specific risks, independent of the general population. This can help reduce the cost of insurance premiums for company and employee contributions.
5. Attract and retain talent.
As employees demand more benefits and a better experience from an employer, it’s more important than ever for companies to offer differentiated benefits. Providing on-site health care services demonstrates a strong investment in employee health and a commitment to providing an excellent overall employee experience. This sends a signal that you are committed to supporting employees in every way possible, which makes the workplace more attractive to candidates and builds employee loyalty.
In every organization, talent is the most expensive item on the books, and most organizations are scrupulous about managing HR costs when it comes to compensation and benefits. But today’s employees are looking beyond salary and benefits for a great employee experience which, in many cases, is determined more by how the company invests in happiness, satisfaction and well-being. -be of its employees only by what it pays.
If you’re not actively managing employee health, you’re leaving too much to chance, which could impact the company’s ability to compete and thrive. Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business.
Andrew Morton is CEO of Bloom Health Partners.