Study says healthcare costs have less impact than other variables

In fact, healthcare costs averaged third on study’s list, beneath engaging and retention of employees

During the first five months of 2018, Biggs Insurance Services has been researching which contributors to corporate culture impact businesses the most, asking c-suite and HR to rank and compare the six leading trends: 1.) healthcare costs, 2.) retention/attraction, 3.) wellness, 4.) technology, 5.) HR/compliance and 6.) employee engagement. The results of this study may surprise you – healthcare costs rarely ranked No. 1. In fact, healthcare costs averaged No. 3 on the list.

So, what was the leading trend impacting business?

No. 1 ranked trend impacting businesses

Engaging Employees. To help envision what this concept looks like in practice, think businesses building a culture where employees aren’t just working for a paycheck; they care about their work and the organization. This type of organization benefits from an “Engagement-Profit Chain,” i.e., an engaged employee who produces higher-quality service, higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, better profits and better shareholder returns.

No. 2 ranked trend impacting businesses

Retention/Attraction. This isn’t solely a millennial conversation – organizations are looking to close the gap of better alternatives and increase employee satisfaction, then use those strategies to fill new positions and/or replace lost workers.

Some of the most interesting discussions occurred when multiple members of leadership ranked the trends and almost always came up with a different order. These varied answers aren’t necessarily surprising, considering the differing organizational roles of those individuals polled. However, thinking and talking about the interplay of all six trends led to great conversations among management, and helped to set new paths forward. What’s certain is that these trends that are becoming addressed through “benefits” programs are poised to play a significant part in shaping modern business.

How do you measure success of these business trends?

Measuring success, or finding the right metrics, is different for every business. However, the state of Colorado recently conducted a study estimating the return on investment from a health risk management program conducted at 121 private businesses, each averaging 20 employees per organization, and discovered there is a $2.03 return for every $1 invested in five key categories similar to those at the center of Biggs’ study.

If, as these findings suggest, small companies can create a return on investment (ROI) by promoting health risk management, it would challenge the prevailing and erroneous thought that bigger companies are the only ones who can benefit from these kind of programs.

Based on the study, the five elements that must be included for a program to be “successful” are:

  • Offer workplace programs that include health education.
  • Links to related employee services.
  • Supportive physical and social environment.
  • Integration of health improvement into organizational culture.
  • Employee screenings with adequate treatment and follow-up.

By integrating these five tenets into organizational objectives, deciding on the desired outcome(s) and using the estimate of a 2:1 return, organizational leaders are addressing what is impacting their businesses the most – and we believe they can expect great results.

Tyson Fuehrer is vice president at Biggs Insurance Services in Vancouver.

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