As 2021 draws to a close, now is the perfect time for employers to take a look at the last year and reflect on what worked and where challenges and gaps may have occurred. We know the last 12 to 18 months have been difficult for businesses for a variety of reasons, the least of which was talent attraction and retention.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for recruiting and employee long-term engagement, we do know candidates are looking for more from their employers. In the new normal of today’s evolving job market, workers are looking for benefits such as flexible work schedules, DEI initiatives and health benefits that go beyond traditional employer health insurance plans. Here are five health care trends that are really resonating with the current workforce.
1. Mental Health Solutions
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in how employees are able to manage mental health. Now, more than ever, employees have found themselves overwhelmed by the sudden change in life. That is why employers are beginning or continuing to provide access to mental health online resources and digital therapy, which can help employees manage stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health troubles.
2. Health Equity
There are certain factors that can impact the ability of some individuals to access quality health care, causing complications in treatment options. This isn’t lost on today’s top talent, who are demanding that organizations do better to ensure equitable access to care on behalf of all members of the team. Employers are seeking to accomplish this by offering inclusive and affordable health benefits and well-being programs. They are also addressing implicit bias and systemic racism to mitigate differences in health status, emotional well-being, health outcomes, and mortality across the entirety of the workforce.
3. Workforce Well-Being
The workforce is continuing to evolve, with leading employers making great strides that include issues like how (in-person or virtually) and where (at the office or at home) employees work. Well-being programs are also evolving to include an employee’s perspective, taking into consideration the specific individual conditions of each employee’s situation. Thus, well-being resources will need to react accordingly to account for an untraditional workforce that has completely changed in as little as two years.
4. Digital Care
Due to the stresses of the pandemic and the need for social distancing, there has been large growth in telemedicine and digital care. This is especially true when it comes to acute and chronic disease management. As of current, digital care has made advancements that can allow doctors to provide enhanced care from afar, including monitoring patients remotely using sensors to track vital signs, health records and other personal information. In addition, digital care options have led to reduced stress on overworked health care professionals like nurses, helping to retain these essential employees in trying times. While there are still limits on the ability of digital care when compared to in-person visits, there is expected to be further development of hybrid solutions to cover these weaknesses and gaps.
5. Rebound of On-Site Clinics
On-site and near-site clinics offer a dedicated outlet for an organization’s employees to receive services such as emergency care, drug screenings and regular wellness checks. These locations cut down on healthcare costs and (especially in the case of on-site clinics) drastically reduce employees’ time away from the job to receive medical care, while also encouraging staff to take full advantage of the services offered to assure they remain in good health.
On-site and near-site clinics are predicted to rebound in 2023-2024 to support workforce health and well-being as part of the post-pandemic future. Having learned the importance of a healthy (and thus happy) workforce, as employees return back to the office more and more employers are looking into enhanced care solutions to ensure that productivity in the office remains high.
As you look back on the last 12 months and assess what is needed to keep your business and your people thriving, think about these trends and determine if layering in additional health services and benefits might help your efforts. The landscape is changing. But with the right tools and systems in place, you can align your organization’s offerings with employees’ expectations and stay ahead of the curve.