Gone are those days when employee benefits were limited to health insurance, reimbursements, and physical health and wellbeing programs. Even before the pandemic started, holistic wellness and mental health were deemed priorities for employee wellbeing. The uncertainty of the pandemic has only made the need for holistic wellness programs more certain.
Studies show that happy employees are less stressed, healthier, and relatively more productive. They have lesser sick leaves, lower absenteeism, and reduced healthcare costs.
To make sure your workforce is happy, healthy, and productive, employers must boost their employee assistance plans and benefits programs to expand their existing benefactions.
Offering voluntary benefits and perks are the best solutions to amp up your employee benefits programs.
In addition to those offered by the Affordable Care Act, larger companies with big budgets for employee benefits can add mental health resources, premium insurance plans, and other luxe health offerings. However, smaller or mid-size companies with lesser or no extra funding cannot offer the same.
In such situations, most employers just continue offering the existing EAPs, which might not meet the evolving employee wellbeing trends. An EAP is not a long-term solution for workplace benefits. However, accommodating some additional and relevant voluntary benefits can go a long way in employee wellbeing and retention.
EAPs and Workplace Wellness
Even before the Affordable Care Act came into action, the Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) have played an integral part in expanding the workplace wellness benefits plans. From mental health care offerings to assessments, counseling, resources, and other relevant services, EAPs can be designed to provide the right resources to employees.
While most EAPs do not help with everyday health and wellbeing solutions, they are primarily conceived to cover emergencies for limited periods. So, if your workforce is looking for long-term mental health care support and counseling, then EAP is not the best solution.
How Can Voluntary Benefits Plans fill the Gaps?
Although mental health care and other holistic wellbeing programs are the need of the hour, they are relatively expensive. Also, it is challenging to find the right mental health resources and wellness vendors who can offer the best-suited solutions. The best solution for this situation could be offering voluntary benefits.
According to an SHRM study, almost 70% of employees felt that voluntary benefits were as beneficial and vital as conventional health benefits plans, insurance, and retirement benefits.
With the supplemental benefits, employers are at the luxury of choosing the best-suited benefits and perks for their workforce while having better control over the budget. So, as long as it is relevant, employees will be happy to receive any extra benefits. This happiness extends to increased employee loyalty and lower turnover rates. Apparently, it becomes a win-win for both employees and employers.
Voluntary benefits cover a wide array of services. Typically, voluntary benefits include digital health solutions, childcare assistance, and student loan reimbursement. Some organizations also offer emotional support services by offering on-demand services with experts who listen, empathize, and guide through the worker’s tough times. Apart from mental, emotional, and financial support, enhanced EAP services also include occupational and intellectual growth. These plans aid employees learn new courses or continuing their education. Ultimately, it boosts loyalty and engagement.
Personalization of these workplace benefits plans can have long-term benefits for employees and employers. With many options available, it may become difficult for employees and employers to juggle different vendors for different services. So, it is crucial to choose a wellness vendor who can offer different services with customizable plans to meet specific health and wellbeing needs. In addition to the customized services, the wellness vendor must also provide a robust employee engagement platform, communication materials, and easy access to the services to ensure the message reaches all workers.
With all these pointers considered, employers can make sure the best voluntary benefits are offered for employee wellbeing and workplace engagement, while keeping a check on the budget.