How to create a successful employee health benefits strategy

January 31, 2018


Designing a successful employee benefit strategy is not only beneficial to your employees, it is beneficial to your organisation as well. A strategy that is successful allows your business to have an edge over your competitors in terms of attracting and retaining talent and also increases productivity. This is especially important for small companies because they face stiff competition from larger companies. The trick is to know how to design an employee benefits strategy that works best for your company. Here are 4 know-hows to creating a successful employee benefit strategy.

Step 1: Make employee benefits a priority

Your employees are at the core of your business - they are your main business drivers. If you take good care of your employees, your business will be more likely to grow rapidly. According to the 2017 Willis Towers Watson survey, the top priorities for employers in Asia in the next few years are to change their benefits strategy to account for rising costs and have a stronger positive influence on their employees’ behaviour.

Source:  'Benefit Strategies for Tomorrow's Workforce'
Source: 'Benefit Strategies for Tomorrow's Workforce'

86% of companies in Singapore are also planning to evaluate the success and effectiveness of their benefits strategy. This is especially important as the survey also found that while 63% of employees believe their benefits strategy successfully caters to the needs of their employees, only 45% of employees feel that their needs are being met. This indicates there is a gap between the expectations of the employees and employers.

Equally important is acknowledging that a successful strategy is one that is dynamic. As a small business, you are likely to experience growth and your company’s focus and priorities will change as well as a result. The business environment your company is in and the desires of your employees will also change overtime. It is essential to ensure that any employee benefits strategy implemented is adjusted to reflect the changing times.

Some essential questions when reviewing your strategy would be:
  • Does the strategy align with my company’s needs?
  • How successful is the strategy in enhancing the performance and productivity of my employees?
  • Are my employees satisfied with the benefits offered to them? And how satisfied are they?

Step 2: Research current market practices and offerings

Traditionally, employee health benefits includes health check-ups, hospitalisation benefits, GP consultations and dental benefits, but nowadays, the market is much more competitive with many companies offering a broad range of health benefits such as optical care, gym passes, fitness classes and physiotherapy.

Reason being that employees want a greater variety of benefits on top of the traditional health benefits plan according to Willis Towers Watson survey and companies who want to attract and retain the top talents will offer such a plan.

As your employees are likely to compare your strategy with your competitors’, it is also important to find out what kind of employee health benefits strategy your competitors are using. This will indicate the kind of health benefits strategy you should be offering in order for you to stand out amongst the competition and win over talent even as a small business.

At the same time, by learning about the strategy other companies utilise, you can also adopt the best practices into your own company.

Step 3: Understand the uniqueness of your company’s team of employees

Every company has their own unique team of employees. Carefully consider the demographics of your employees as it plays a crucial role when crafting your company’s employee benefits strategy. According to an employee health benefits survey conducted by Mednefits, it was found that while all age groups placed importance on health check-ups, hospitalisation benefits and dental benefits, there are stark differences when it comes to other health benefits. Younger age groups typically prefer preventive care options such as gym passes and fitness classes while older age groups prefer optical care.

With Singapore’s ageing population combined with the rise in retirement age to 67, Singapore will be looking at an ageing workforce. Neil Narale, Singapore business leader for Mercer Marsh Benefits, noted that organisations need to adapt to current demographic trends by implementing strategies to mitigate higher costs of ill health and capitalise on the productivity of an older and potentially shrinking workforce. He shared that these strategies will include identifying factors that increase productivity as well as workplace health and wellness initiatives.

Source:  'Cost and Productivity Challenges of Ill Health in Singapore'
Source: 'Cost and Productivity Challenges of Ill Health in Singapore'

Step 4: Express interest in your employees' opinions

Underutilisation of employee benefits is an issue that plagues companies. What better way to solve the issue than by asking employees what kinds of employee benefits they want to have? For example, conducting a survey can be a good way to know what your employees need in their benefits package. While you may not be able to provide everything they want, you will get a better idea of what your employee wants, and gain insights into what sorts of benefits they are using or even whether they are aware of the benefits offered. At the same time, you will be able to pinpoint what benefits your employees do not use as much and perhaps choose to scale back on those.

This way your employees will feel that their views are important to you and know that they are valued. Especially in a small business where you have a smaller team, it is easier for you to get to know your employees and their interests and worries. You should definitely use that to your advantage. Interacting with your employees will inculcate their sense of loyalty to the company and help your company when it comes to retaining talent.

We hope this sheds light on how employers can provide better employee health benefits. Keeping these 4 know-hows in mind, move on to the next step and explore your possible options.

About Mednefits:

Mednefits helps businesses take care of their employees with its automated, affordable, and accessible employee benefits platform. Request to join Mednefits for free to help process and track claims in real-time, while controlling costs.

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