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Build it and they will come. But will they stay?

Benefits Utilization Might Be the Missing Piece to the Employee Retention Puzzle

This past summer, four million Americans quit their jobs (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). The Great Resignation, set off and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, means many employers are looking at every aspect of their workplace under the microscope, including their benefits plans. 78% of employees reported that they are more likely to stay with an employer because of their benefits program (ArmadaCare). Ahead of flex hours, PTO and a 401(k), health insurance is the most valued benefit by employees and one of the more significant overhead costs for a company (Harvard Business Review). Whether your benefits plan is highly competitive or needs a little work, consider these key insights that can have a sizable impact on employee retention.

First, to retain employees through health benefits, employers need to determine if the benefits they currently offer are the benefits their employees actually want and will use. In addition to general healthcare benefits, there are many specific, additional benefits that may be immensely appealing to employees and can set your company apart for those who are looking to apply, and those eyeing the neighbor’s grass. For instance, offering fertility benefits such as IVF assistance and/or egg freezing may be a benefit that has an immediate impact on retention depending on the employee demographics. The trend toward offering access to mental health programs as an additional perk is also a good example of this. According to Spring Health, in 2020, 43% of U.S. employees who sought mental healthcare say their employer-sponsored health plan’s mental health benefits did not meet all of their mental healthcare needs. In AmadaCare’s recent study, 75% of millennials said that benefits customization is important to increasing their loyalty to their employer. In the long-term, if employees are finding use in their benefits and are pleased with their employer-provided healthcare, turnover rate is likely to be lower. There are various solutions for this issue, but regardless of the method, employers who pay attention to what their employees are looking for in terms of benefits are able to better engage and retain their employees in the long run. Consider asking your employees about their benefits experience over the last 2 years to identify gaps you can work toward filling for your unique population.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just have a robust benefits plan. The complexity of healthcare plans can be daunting and unapproachable, and therefore overlooked despite their value. In fact, nearly 50% of employees will look for a new job in the next 12 months due to confusion or dissatisfaction with benefits (ArmadaCare). So, the second insight to consider is utilization. Since active employee engagement with benefits will lead to more satisfaction with their employer, getting to the root cause of underutilization should be a priority for your organization.

Let’s talk about preventative care first. The underutilization of preventative care is an ongoing cause of late detection and increased healthcare costs, not to mention the toll it takes on an employee’s physical and mental health. Late detection can often stem from employees not knowing what they are covered for and consequently failing to seek preventative care or appropriate treatment. An effective way to address this persistent issue is for the employer to champion an effort to help their employees know about and utilize their preventative care. If employees are actively knowledgeable about what their healthcare plans cover, they are more likely to avoid late detection. Furthermore, 41% of US adults delayed or avoided medical care in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns (CDC). Employers can play an important role in the solution by addressing lingering concerns head-on to encourage employees to get the care they need when they need it.

Beyond preventative care, things can get even more dicey. It is no small feat for HR and benefits teams to help every employee efficiently and accurately. With hundreds of healthcare plans, with thousands of pages each, there is a large margin for error when translating coverage or summarizing policies for individuals, not to mention the potential to cause further confusion and frustration. How can employers deliver the most relevant, complete, and accurate information that is personalized not only to the individual employee’s benefits selection, but also for the real-time health issue or priority they are facing? Here’s how one organization is using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to personalize benefits engagement and increase utilization rates at scale.

After moving to America to join McKinsey & Company, co-founder Guy Benjamin was struck by the complexity and inefficiency of the U.S. healthcare system. He believed there had to be a better, more user-centric and innovative way for employees to understand what their health plans actually cover. Influenced by his personal frustrations, Healthee is paving the way for the future of healthcare transparency. Healthee, driven by its mission to improve human health by simplifying access and utilization of benefits, employs advanced AI and ML technology to help employees prioritize their health and bring ingenuity to an antiquated industry.

The connection between employee retention and benefits is extremely important to assess in your organization. When the cost of replacing an employee can range from 50% to 400% of their annual salary, the opportunity to impact retention by offering more efficient and effective benefits navigation support is staggering (Bureau of Labor Statistics). 51% of employers say that using benefits to retain employees will become even more important in the next 3-5 years (SHRM). While designing comprehensive benefits plans that your employees want and need is a great way to attract talent, ensuring your employees are maximizing the value of the plan you’ve so thoughtfully designed may just be the key to retaining them.


About Healthee

Healthee (formerly Insurights) was a sponsor of WELCOA’s “How to Buy Well-Being Solutions” Special Event in 2021 and are a WELCOA Premier Provider.

Healthees’ mission is to make employees healthier. And, their vision is to create a world where people understand their healthcare options, and take advantage of them. They believe that health benefits should be easy, accessible, and affordable. That’s why they created Healthee.
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