Staying ahead of the curve in employee benefits

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By Monica Bower
Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for PayDayPerx

The growing emphasis on employee morale, wellness, and security inside the workplace are major drivers of Human Resources Management (HRM) strategies in the past fifteen years. For companies that self-insure, the cost-containment value of increasing employee wellness is obvious; but employee morale, personal and financial security, and wellness are interlinked in employee retention strategy. Many companies are ahead of the curve, but many others may feel the pressure to catch up or risk a higher turnover, lower customer service scores, and weaker sales numbers.
Intuitively, this makes sense – happy employees can sell products and assist customers without any cognitive dissonance. Statistically the connection is clear as well: According to statistics from the American Payroll Association, companies that meet the criterion of a “psychologically healthy workplace” benefit from improved work quality and productivity, lower absenteeism, lower presenteeism (sick people reporting to work), less turnover, better sales trends and better customer service ratings. In fact, the four employers awarded the APA’s top honors in 2013 had an average turnover rate of just 6%, compared to the national average of 38% as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor, and were rated better in customer surveys than competitors in their vertical who received lower marks from employees.

Creating a psychologically healthy workplace can be a daunting goal, and larger objectives should be unpacked into smaller ones. One easy place to start is with a simple employee discount program featuring wellness offers such as fitness memberships, healthy diet and exercise options, and discounts on outdoor lifestyle items from national brands, with an online deployment for easy employee access. Ideally, these also deliver discounts on consumables and other items of real value to the employees, in addition to supporting HR wellness initiatives.

Rather than starting from scratch and investing significant in-house resources on development, management, and support for these programs, most HR teams can turn to a partner provider who is able to embed a turnkey program and cut deployment time to weeks rather than months. These programs range from simple intranet banners to full-blown employee discount malls for even higher employee satisfaction. Some providers charge per-employee fees, while others are able to charge the national brands themselves so that the programs are free to employers. Some require internal resources to manage the program while others are hands-free. Some require a separate interface while others can be embedded as links or banners onto existing HR hubs and intranet landing pages, inside of employee login areas.

Once in place, the activity metrics from these employee discount programs can then help guide larger wellness strategies, for instance by highlighting the popularity of specific activities or an interest in additional voluntary benefits. Partner providers can be a key resource for bridging gaps and increase the effectiveness of Human Resources teams which may be small groups relative to the total number of employees.