The Great Resignation is looking more and more like The Great Negotiation, to borrow a headline from one recent article. This renegotiation is more than just better pay and better hours. It’s about the other things that make a workplace attractive, such as health benefits and other perks.
Companies have three primary drivers when adding better health benefits: to attract and retain top talent, improve employee productivity, and to offer their employees a way to take care of themselves while they put their career in the driver’s seat. Among the most overlooked health benefits are those designed specifically for men. This is likely because the scientific literature on men avoiding medical care is well established: Studies have shown that men use less preventative healthcare services than women, and do not seek immediate treatment for many of their unique health problems. We even know why the problem exists. Masculine norms ― the assumed behavior of toughness and pushing through pain ― motivate men to avoid seeking healthcare services.
The field of men’s health is only beginning to emerge. The trend in employer-sponsored health benefits is pointing upwards. According to the National Institute for Health Care Management, wellness and health management programs are widespread and growing in sophistication as employers rely on financial rewards that require progress toward specific biometric goals.
This is a great place for HR leaders to take note. Here are five reasons why their organization should champion men’s health benefits to compete in the Great Resignation.
1. Retain and attract top talent
The ability to differentiate among your competitors is king in the job market right now. Wages are still the most important factor for job seekers, but there are ways an employer can stand out from a competitor offering similar pay. Companies are jockeying to offer better benefits, more security, and more perks for current and prospective employees. The more unique job experience you can offer, the better off you are in the recruiting game.
A men’s health benefit, especially one that will allow men to take care of themselves remotely, in the comfort of their own home, will go a long way with your prospective male employees and prospects.
2. Cost savings
When employees avoid seeking care, it is possible insurance costs and premiums will rise. The long-term healthcare costs fall to the employer and when patient outcomes erode, their costs of care increase. There’s also prescription utilization and unit costs, for which the employer can negotiate better deals through the insurance provider when patients are using their benefits correctly ― meaning not avoiding care.
A benefit offering that takes into account the specific needs of your workforce encourages employees to be actively involved in their healthcare. Both employers and employees will reap the long-term benefits.
3. Time profitability for the company
Employees who skip care stay sicker for a longer period of time. The result to the employer is lost productivity: do you want your employee in the office, where they are getting the most work done on behalf of the company, or sick at home? When health care is put on hold, employers will notice the lack of attention to detail. This ultimately has a ripple effect on the bottom line. One study demonstrated that a worker with health coverage misses on average 76.5 percent fewer workdays than uninsured workers.
The effect goes beyond basic health coverage. A World Health Organization study of mental health benefits demonstrated that every dollar invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 in better health and ability to work.
4. Improve employee productivity
Companies that offer better health benefits overall affirm a commitment to supporting employees and their families, while also improving the quality of their health care. This has immeasurable benefits far beyond the board room, as healthy employees and employee families take less time off from the task, are more engaged when working and are much more productive overall.
According to a recent McKinsey study, preventive health, behavioral health, workplace environment, well-being, and social determinants require greater focus to drive employees’ overall health.
5. Virtual benefits are expanding
When COVID-19 swelled to a global pandemic, the world changed. Health care as we know it evolved and is still evolving before our eyes. Virtual visits are the norm, and soon we will be able to record dozens of digital touchpoints ― heart rate, blood pressure, oxygenation, etc. ― from the comfort of home.
Many companies are now offering virtual care for prostate and reproductive health, chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and COPD, and assessing urgent symptoms on the scene to give physicians a jump start to follow-up treatments. These efficiencies lead to better patient outcomes at a fraction of the cost.
Reza Amin is the CEO and founder of Bastion Health.