It’s in employers’ best interests to ensure that their employees are happy, as employee morale is essential to a company’s ongoing success. When morale is high, employees are more likely to collaborate, to feel a greater sense of job security, and to stay at their jobs longer.1 This increased retention rate is key, given that the cost of turnover and onboarding can be quite expensive.
Low morale and disengagement may also cost the company money. In fact, an engaged worker from 40 to 49 years old costs their employer nearly $128 per month in lost productivity due to unhealthy days, while an actively disengaged worker in the same age range costs $236 monthly, which is an 85% increase.2
Here are four ways employers can leverage their benefit offerings to improve employee morale, and keep it high:
Address multiple well-being dimensions
While employees engage with their benefit plans to make well-informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their families, they should also recognize the multiple dimensions of employee well-being beyond physical health. These include mental, emotional, and financial health.
Ways employers can expand their benefit offerings to address these dimensions include offering stress-reduction programs or access to virtual or in-person therapists and counselors, plus financial coaches and budgeting tools and resources.3
Ensure the benefits are easily accessible
In a world with convenient access to a seemingly infinite amount of content, employees want similarly easy access to their benefit information. However, more than 50% of employees say they can’t use their preferred method to access their benefits, and only 21% say they can easily access their benefits—potentially causing disappointment and frustration.
On the other hand, 81% of employees who can easily access their benefits claim loyalty to their employer, and 79% indicate they’re proud to work for their organization.4 Clearly, ensuring the easily accessible benefits can positively impact employee morale.
Put the "person" in personalization
Regardless of the company or industry, employees will reflect the full health spectrum, from those who are wholly healthy to those who are dealing with a serious condition such as cancer. All employees, however, can benefit from services that offer a personalized approach, giving them the option to discuss their situation with a real person, either in person or virtually. This offering can be especially crucial for employees with significant health challenges. Employers who convey that they care through the benefits they offer can significantly improve morale for people facing a diagnosis.
Additionally, personally ensure that your employees are getting the appropriate information, tools, and content they need, when they need them. These resources could help them make better-informed, potentially lifesaving healthcare decisions.
Consider more outside-the-box benefits
Whether it’s true or not, employees perceive benefits to be about what’s best for their employer. One way that employers can shift the perception of benefits to be about what’s best for employees is to incorporate programs that make them feel appreciated and valued.
These programs might include6:
- Investing in personal development – Allow each employee a reasonable stipend that they can put toward their own personal development at work. This might include attending a seminar, subscribing to a publication, or purchasing ergonomic office equipment.
- Launching a mentorship program – Regardless of their level within the organization, all employees can benefit from additional learning opportunities. A way to achieve this is by launching a mentorship program that pairs employees with company leaders as well as outside vendors or clients if appropriate. It’s a great way to keep employees engaged with each other and open the door for possible new relationships to form.
- Instituting a flexible work schedule – The past year has demonstrated that many employees from a variety of industries can perform their jobs effectively while working remotely and juggling family and personal responsibilities. With more employees returning to the office or working in some type of hybrid situation, employers might consider ways that they can continue providing employees with a certain degree of flexibility. The emphasis should be on ensuring the work gets done, not when and where it happens.
3 How do benefits improve employee morale? SBMA Web site. https://www.sbmabenefits.com/2021/03/07/how-do-benefits-improve-employee-morale. Updated March 3, 2021. Accessed July 8, 2021.
4 Bruce C. Earn employee loyalty through benefits technology. The HR Tech Weekly. July 8, 2018. https://hrtechweekly.com/2018/08/07/earn-employee-loyalty-through-benefits-technology. Accessed July 8, 2021.
5 Bates S. How to support employees with cancer. SHRM. June 1, 2016. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0616/pages/how-to-support-employees-with-cancer.aspx. Accessed July 12, 2021.
6 Forbes Coaches Council. 13 inexpensive but effective benefits that keep employees happy. Forbes. April 4, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/04/04/13-inexpensive-but-effective-benefits-that-keep-employees-happy. Accessed July 8, 2021.