Best practices for building a more engaged workforce

Employers who help educate their employees about their health plan and benefits can help drive engagement, which may result in better outcomes and lower costs.

TR member experience engagement e-book (pdf) Opens a new window

Health benefits are a significant investment for employers, typically only second behind salaries and wages.1 But they’re worth it: Beyond providing the support employees need for their health and well-being, they can also be a powerful retention tool.

More than half of surveyed employees said they would consider taking a lower-paying job with better benefits, while 63% said their company’s benefits impacted their decision to stay.In other words, the more informed employees are about what’s available to them, the more likely they are to appreciate and use the benefits their employer offers.

But employees can’t appreciate what they don’t understand. Many employees struggle to understand the health benefits that are available to them. That’s where employers come in: By providing better and more consistent benefits education throughout the year, they may see better engagement with their health plans, resulting in potentially better outcomes and lower costs.

What does that look like? This ebook outlines some best practices for building a more engaged workforce, broken down by business size.

Small businesses need readymade solutions

UnitedHealthcare understands that small business decision-makers, with anywhere from 2–99 employees, typically have limited time and wear multiple hats. Although cost is a primary driver, they often place a high value on personal relationships with their employees and their families, so a balance between employee value and cost efficiency is important.

But communicating and educating employees about the value of their health plan can be difficult for employers of this size. Because small businesses are built to be lean in terms of operations and usually don’t have the same level of support from a human resource (HR) team compared to larger businesses, they may need to rely on their brokers for help in providing effective benefits education.

With UnitedHealthcare, small businesses can also get support from their Field Account Manager (FAM) to provide benefits education or answer employee questions. The UnitedHealthcare Employee Engagement Planner® (EEP) is also a useful tool. The EEP auto-populates a calendar with timely, relevant materials, from reminders about flu shots to information about accessing health and wellness resources, which are readymade to send to employees.

When communicating about benefits education, small businesses shouldn’t underestimate the power of their leader’s voice. Employees are more likely to listen when the CEO communicates, whether through email or in-person at an all-staff meeting. 

Midsize businesses need a mix of solutions

With anywhere from 100 to 4,999 employees, midsize businesses may function more as small businesses or large ones depending on their size.

For example, midsize businesses on the smaller end may require more support due to a lack of dedicated internal resources, as they typically need pre-packaged, ready-to-go material to first understand health plan details and then later to communicate to their employees. Like small businesses, midsize businesses with smaller workforces can look to brokers for assistance at each stage of the journey.

As midsize businesses grow in size and complexity, they often seek more tailored engagement opportunities that maximize their health plan value. With this segment, the consultant role becomes more strategic, and the insurer and the consultant are often collaborating on the approach brought forward to the group. Midsize businesses typically have more support from internal HR departments than smaller-sized businesses.

Communications that come from the top are still very powerful for midsize businesses, as is the support of brokers, consultants and FAMs. Tools like the EEP are also very valuable, but midsize businesses may also want to increase engagement by starting health and well-being challenges, hosting benefit fairs or even by hiring on-site nurses that can serve the unique needs of their workforces. 

Large businesses need tailored solutions

UnitedHealthcare understands that large businesses employing 5,000 or more employees often span different locations, generations, education levels and more, which means engaging their workforce in their health benefits can be complex. Large business decision-makers want to be informed of emerging trends and innovative products so they can meet changing employee needs. They also need the data specific to their populations to pinpoint where the opportunities are, and then the strategies that will optimize plan utilization and remediate spend issues. UnitedHealthcare reporting and analytics along with regular plan reviews create the structure for purposeful progress.

With employee experience and plan value at the heart of decision-making, large businesses expect their carriers and consultants to deliver more customized plans that meet their unique employee needs and positions their company competitively in the market. These employers expect ongoing support and guidance in all stages of the decision-making and implementation related to their health benefits strategy.

Large businesses may also want to build further engagement among their employees through on-site clinics and nurses equipped to care for their workforces. Hosting benefit fairs, sending customized communications, developing health and well-being challenges and creating regular webinars or education forums may also be powerful ways that large businesses can grow engagement among their workforces. UnitedHealthcare has the resources to both create plans for these strategies as well as implement them.

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