Posts Tagged Employee Benefits
HR magazines everywhere cite statistics which link healthy employees to healthy workplace results. But whose responsibility is it to ensure that employees take care of their health, see their primary care physicians annually, exercise on a regular basis, eat the right foods, and get vaccinations? Although it is not the employers’ responsibility per se, there are some basic and easy ways to promote a healthy workplace which prove beneficial to both the employee and the organization.
- Promote a healthy organizational culture. There are some simple ways to do this. When ordering in meals for seminars and/or trainings, order healthy items – skip the unhealthy choices such as pizza, cookies, and chips. Involve your company in local 5ks and/or other exercise initiatives. This does more than get everyone out for some exercise; it’s the perfect environment for socializing!
- Encourage Preventative Care. This begins with offering health insurance; statistics provided by the White House show that the smaller the company, the less likely they are to offer health insurance. In fact, less than 50 percent of employers with less than ten employees offer health insurance. When selecting a health insurance company, it may be wise to ask about preventative care options such as vaccines, smoking cessation programs, and perhaps annual exams without charge. Be sure to advertise these benefits to your employees, encourage them to get physicals, and consider offering them time during the workday for preventative care (The White House, 2009).
- Consider Incentive Programs. Incentive programs in organizations are growing all over the United States. Programs that encourage employees to exercise, attend regular doctor appointments, get vaccinations, eat well, and overall take care of themselves have really jumped in popularity. Some incentives to consider may include bonuses, awards when they reach their goals such as certificates or fitness gear, and overall continued encouragement for the effort in which they put in!
Daniél Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
Human Resources Specialist
The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees. The White House (2009, June 25). Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA-smallbusiness-july24.pdf
“My son has a fever and needs to stay home and rest.”
“I just had surgery and can’t sit for long periods of time.”
“It doesn’t make sense for me to work and pay for infant daycare!”
Do any of these issues come up in your company? If you think that they are stressful for the organization, just imagine the burden on your employees. One option that is grasping more and more attention is allowing employees to telework if they as employees, and their positions, permit it (Heathfield, 2011).
So, how would an organization determine whether or not a position is a strong fit for telecommuting? There’s no simple answer but here are some variables to consider (Heathfield, 2011):
- The position must be able to be completed outside of the office building. There are some new and creative ways to make this possible, even for those positions that seemingly need to be completed in the office. One such position is a call center employee — many companies are offering their employees remote access and soft phones on their computers.
- The employees should be able to work independently inside of the company in order to be considered for telecommuting.
- The employee and the manager should both be comfortable with electronic communication, i.e. e-mail.
- The employee should not be wearing the “home” hat and the “work” hat during their working hours. The employee should have uninterrupted work time at home.
- The employee must be trustworthy.
Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
Human Resources Specialist
Heathfield, S. (n.d.). Life and Family Challenges With Flexible Work Schedules? In About Human Resources. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://humanresources.about.com/od/workschedules/f/life_family.htm
Towers Watson recently released this report highlighting some coming trends in the areas of comprehensive benefits as it relates to multi-national organizations. A summary introduction emphasizes a couple of interesting points regarding the information that they collected in their survey.
- Emphasis on and reasoning for worker health varies by region
- Wellness programs are growing in popularity
- Communicating employee health and safety strategy is critical
These three points stood out to us as well. Behavioral health got a lot of attention through the survey results, underscoring the important work that we do and its impact on the overall costs of health to an organization.
The gulf between communications with top-level leaders and the dispersion of that information downward sounds to be a case for our BizPsych friends as the information disparity seems to be great, globally. Further, while the fact that wellness programs are growing in popularity may not be of any surprise to anyone here, the priorities that these multinationals place on various components of a wellness program are.
If you find any other interesting articles on the subject, feel free to share those through the comments!
‘Til next time…
May is mental health awareness month – an issue that has implications on individuals as well as the organizations they work for. The importance of mental health and the employee is a frequently discussed topic in the field of HR. Does the employer have a responsibility for their employees’ mental health? How can offering mental health benefits help the organization? Although there are multiple perspectives, there are some ways that the employer can help support their employees through difficult times.
One common and inexpensive benefit that the vast majority of organizations provide to their employees is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Yes, MINES and Associates is an EAP provider, and as such we see the issues that come to the table: low morale, family conflicts, substance abuse, and financial stressors to name a few. We also hear success stories of employees completing their counseling sessions and feeling that many areas of their lives have improved – including their job! Being the HR specialist of an organization which provides EAP services, it was easy to see where the value of an EAP lies. When an employee comes to you with a problem or suspicions of a mental illness, it’s reassuring to know that as an HR specialist, you have a great resource available where you can refer employees to clinicians that are better suited to help with these sorts of problems.
In addition to an EAP, there are other ways that you can regularly support your employees. Some benefits that our employees greatly appreciate include generous time off, the ability to work remotely, and encouraged open-communication. During times of stress, employees tend to appreciate time off to deal with personal matters. Working remotely allows the employee flexibility in their work. Finally, open-communication allows employees to bring forth concerns and needs without fear of reprisal. Your employees are the greatest asset of the company – show them that you care and support them!
Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist