Alleviating the Labor Challenges in Healthcare: Better Benefits
It’s no secret that healthcare systems and providers have struggled to keep up with the intensity of ongoing labor-related challenges. Consistent turnover, decreased employee satisfaction, and talent attraction struggles continue on. Whilst there is no silver bullet, there’s an overwhelming amount of data that indicates a correlation between benefits satisfaction and alleviating the aforementioned challenges. As a result, HR leaders are turning their attention to OE 2023/2024 as an opportunity to diversify their benefits strategy. Particularly, within the arena of voluntary benefits (VBs) and employee savings programs.
Many of us are familiar with more traditional voluntary benefits such as Long-Term Care, Mental Health, Legal, and Identity Theft. However, no matter where you are in your voluntary benefits and employee savings journey, it’s important to recognize how challenging it can be to design, build, and deploy awareness to these benefits in consideration of the complexity associated with a healthcare organization’s employee population. Here’s why:
1. Highly Distributed Employee Population
Healthcare and hospital systems have a geographically diverse workforce. Employees work across multiple locations (hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities). This makes it challenging for HR teams to coordinate benefits packages that meet the unique needs of each employee while also ensuring compliance with local and state regulations.
The diverse and distributed nature of healthcare workforces often leads to communication gaps. If employees find it difficult to fully understand the VBs available, they will be less likely to take advantage of their benefits.
VBs help bridge this gap by offering flexible options tailored to meet the needs of every employee, regardless of their location. Telemedicine services, for instance, can be offered as a voluntary benefit to employees in remote locations. This provides employees with more flexible access to healthcare services and eliminates the need for travel.
2. High Turnover and Accommodating Waves of New Hires
The healthcare industry is known for high turnover rates. High turnover requires HR to try to keep up with the demands of open enrollment periods. VBs help alleviate this challenge by providing a continuous enrollment opportunity, making it possible for new hires to enroll in benefits packages at any time throughout the calendar year.
This approach helps healthcare organizations remain competitive by attracting and retaining top talent. Employees also appreciate the flexibility they have to manage their healthcare and financial needs.
3. Meeting the Needs of Thousands of Employees Simultaneously
Healthcare organizations have a disproportionate ratio between HR resources and total employees. This can overwhelm HR, making it difficult for the employees in that department to manage the various benefits packages and plans available.
VBs aid in easing the burden on HR by providing a streamlined and simplified approach to benefits management. Doing so allows healthcare organizations to outsource the administration of benefits, giving HR the opportunity to focus on other essential tasks.
4. Obstacles Relating to a Diverse and Ever-Changing Workforce
Healthcare employees represent various age groups, genders, generations, socio-economic backgrounds, and ethnicities. The diversity of employee needs and preferences can pose difficulties for HR teams when designing benefits packages. Thankfully, VBs bridge this gap by offering options tailored to meet those wide-ranging needs.
One example of this is financial planning tools; these tools can be offered as a voluntary benefit to help employees manage their finances and plan for retirement. Other packages can include wellness programs that promote employees’ physical and mental health.
5. The Need to Attract and Retain Clinical Staff
The healthcare sector is experiencing a widespread shortage of skilled professionals. By 2035, this shortage is estimated to reach 12.9 million. Recruiting and retaining top talent, therefore, has become a top priority for healthcare organizations. VBs provide a competitive edge by offering a comprehensive and attractive benefits package that caters to employees’ diverse needs.
We completed a study with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and discovered that offering VBs to employees increased the length of their tenure by 2x for enrollees (6 years vs. 3 years). These benefits not only help recruit and retain new talent but also foster employee loyalty and contribute to lower turnover rates. The result is a more stable and experienced workforce.
6. Employee Satisfaction at Historical Lows
Satisfied employees are more likely to be productive, engaged, and committed to their jobs. Statistics show that happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees.
VBs significantly boost employee satisfaction by addressing their individual needs and preferences. Offering diverse benefits (such as wellness programs, financial planning tools, and professional development opportunities) encourages employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance and feel more valued by their employers.
7. Finding Cost Savings for the Employee and Employer
Another advantage of VBs is their cost-effective nature for employers. Many VBs are employee-paid, which means the employer can offer a wide range of benefits to their employees without incurring significant costs. This allows healthcare organizations to enhance their benefit packages without straining their budgets. It’s a financially viable solution for both employers and employees.
So . . . What’s the Answer?
VBs have become a “need to have” rather than a “nice to have” component to employee benefits packages in 2023 and beyond. At Corestream, we have had the privilege of supporting some of the most recognizable healthcare providers in the country by guiding them toward deploying successful VBs and employee savings programs.
Corestream can streamline communication, alleviate the administrative burden on HR teams, and increase benefits participation at no cost to you. Our easy-to-use platform simplifies the process of accessing, understanding, and enrolling in VBs.
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