The entire world was thrown into disarray in the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, businesses worldwide have fundamentally changed how they operate. Among those who rapidly adapted and survived, one of the biggest lessons gleaned was the importance of employee health and wellness to the success and resilience of a business.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the many ways in which a crisis can threaten the physical, emotional and financial wellbeing of employees and the effects thereof on business disruptions,” says Amar Munjal, a Pension & Benefits Advisor at CapriCMW.
Those effects can include:
- Increased absenteeism leading to lower output
- Reduced productivity due to lack of engagement among employees
- Reputational harm
- Difficulty recruiting talent
- Growth in safety incidents
- Failures in complying with data privacy regulations that can lead to financial and administrative penalties
Amar adds though that businesses can also view these challenges as opportunities and turn vulnerabilities into strengths.
“Using your employee health and benefit plans to proactively manage attraction and retention of employees during a crisis will enable your business to help manage some of these exposures, better protect your employees and support your business in its community and social responsibility goals,” he advises.
Here are 9 tips for structuring your employee benefits to maintain talent acquisition and retention in a crisis:
1 - Conduct regular reviews of your benefits
Retain an independent specialist that can help you identify and address gaps as well as ensure compliance and avoid regulatory penalties. Pay particular attention to emerging areas such as digital and mental health.
2 - Develop a Employee Benefits Risk Registry
This tool provides a snapshot of essential data including financing, cost, utilization and regulation – enabling you to understand the scope of exclusions (such as those related to catastrophic events).
3 - Streamline decision-making
Consider assembling a cross-functional committee to collaboratively review and make decisions and recommendations that align with your risk tolerance. Your committee should include those who are accountable for developing, implementing and financing of programs.
4 - Be strategic in selecting partners
Only partner with established and stable benefits providers that have robust information security protocols in place. Many insurers now offer support for businesses to respond in the event of another pandemic, such as virtual care options, extra cash lump sums to ease hospital stays, etc. Carefully consider the insurer’s ability to deliver in a crisis, how they help employees navigate complicated health issues and proactively manage care.
5 - Support a healthy, engaged, productive workforce
Tailor your benefits to strengthen employee health, wellness and engagement by focusing on virtual care, chronic conditions management, mental health and wellness resources and engagement activities.
6 - Effective employee communication
The success of your benefits program hinges on employee engagement. Ensure all employees are well informed about the benefits available to them, avoiding misunderstandings that may harm your reputation and negatively affect your staff.
7- Leverage risk finance optimization
This process helps maximize the value of benefits while protecting you against unexpected exposure. It includes evaluating whether to insure or self-insure, and which plans offer the best approach to protection.
8 - Invest in data privacy
Prioritize keeping confidential information of employees safe. Many online benefits platforms provide secure ways to send eligibility information between payroll and the benefits provider.
9 - Talk to your broker
Your broker will guide you through risk management strategies and identifying coverage gaps. Benefits can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. That's where a CapriCMW Advisor can help.
This content is powered by the Benefits Alliance Group.
CapriCMW is a proud member of the Benefits Alliance Group, a national organization consisting of 28 independent firms with more than 200 advisors. Collectively, we administer over 8,000 employee benefit plans with $1.4 billion of group insurance premiums, as well as 1,500 group retirement plans that have over $3.5 billion in plan assets. Learn more at benefitsalliance.ca.