As a consultant, I get asked all of the time, “what else can we do to improve our benefit plans?”.  Sometimes I feel like I’m the genie character in Aladdin…and magically I’m going to come up with something else. I feel today that I am “all out of magic beans.”

With the economy strong over the last several years, the focus on perks has been intense.  Breast milk storage, dry cleaning, valet parking (well, if we get back to the office) and sooo many other types of benefits have been placed into employee benefit programs to promote retention and more importantly, recruit talent. But will all of this come back to haunt us?

With economists feeling that we are balancing on the edge of some type of recessionary time, those benefits will be the first to go and have they really made a difference in the lives of employees?  They are bright and shiny but I would argue the answer to that question is a big fat – nope.

What I have been an advocate for is spending more money in chronic disease management with my clients. Not sexy, but very important to that employee or dependent that is either lazy or living paycheck to paycheck (or both really) to get the medical help that they need. Uber to appointments, free medication if adherent, on-site medical help, genetic testing for certain disease and other benefits that enhance and frankly save lives.  But let’s be honest, those benefits do not garner the excitement that unlimited free food while working or free gift wrapping at the holidays do when wooing employees.

On the brink of some economic event, however, most employers that have gone bright and shiny will most likely need to take those things away.  What may be left is a mediocre health plan that does not do a lot to help improve the health of employees and their families.  We’ve lost sight of what making the investment in our most important asset really is.

I urge employers to get back to basics and improve your health plan with bright and shiny that can save employee lives.  It can be very impactful if communicated to your workforce with meaning – in a way that is understandable.  The other stuff is cool and nice to have.  Nice to have, however, is the first to go and then what are employees really left with? 

To Be Notified When New Blogs Are Published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *