Health benefits are undoubtedly important to employees. They are one of the most important factors considered by job seekers when comparing job offers.
And for employers, offering health and wellness benefits can improve morale, job satisfaction, talent attraction and retention, and productivity, leading to a stronger workforce and bottom line.
But for benefits to have a positive effect on the workforce, they must be in line with employees’ priorities, interests, and needs. Naturally, offering benefits that so few of your employees will use won’t produce the desired effects.
To ensure that you’re meeting your employees’ health and wellness needs by delivering the right perks and programs, here is a list of the favourite health and wellness benefits according to employees.
1. Prescription Drugs, Dental, and Vision
According to the 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, 94 percent of employees who responded deemed prescription drug coverage as very important, 93 percent deemed dental coverage as very important, and 91 deemed vision care very important.
2. Flexible Work Arrangements
Highlighting the importance of workplace culture, 41 percent of respondents chose flexible working arrangements as their preferred wellness benefit. Unfortunately, though, employers don’t currently view this perk as an example of a wellness program.
Plan sponsors may want to reconsider how they define their wellness programs in order to be more in line with their employees’ wants and needs. Offering flexible work arrangements is a practical action that can end up making an important difference in the job satisfaction rate within your workforce.
3. Discounts for Off-Site Gym Memberships
36 percent of respondents also wished for discounts for fitness classes or off-site gym memberships.
4. Healthy Foods and Snacks
36 percent were also interested in being offered a program that provides healthy food and snacks in the workplace.
5. Flu Shots
Close behind discounts on gym memberships and access to healthy foods and snacks, 35 percent of respondents reported they wanted the ability to get a flu shot at work. This number increased to 49 percent in Atlantic Canada.
6. Fitness Centre at Work
Rounding out the top five list of favourite health and wellness benefits according to employees is a fitness centre or gym at work. 32 percent of respondents would like the option of working out at the office.
Least Favourite Health Benefits
At the other end of the spectrum are the least favourite health benefits according to employees. In turns out, workers are less likely to engage in workplace group wellness programs, coaching sessions to set personal health goals, workplace fitness challenges, wellness fairs, and mobile health and fitness tools and devices.
How Do Employers Fair?
In general, the health benefits that employers offer their workers tends to be in line with member preferences. For example, 32 percent of employer respondents did focus on flexible working arrangements while 28 percent were planning to offer flu shots in the workplace.
Respondents were generally satisfied with the coverage of their prescription drugs and dental care. However, plan members were less satisfied when it came to major dental coverage as well as vision care. In fact, only 35 percent of respondents were satisfied with the coverage offered for vision care and only 41 percent were satisfied with their health benefits plans when it came to major or orthodontic coverage.
Moreover, plan sponsors were also less likely to offer wellness fairs and mobile health and fitness tools and devices, which bodes well for employees who aren’t interested in these benefits. However, 29 percent of plan sponsors were interested in offering health and wellness coaching sessions.
When you’re more strategic in the health benefits you offer by tailoring your programs to the unique needs and wants of your employee population, you can increase employees’ engagement in their health and successfully promote better health outcomes for your workforce.