manulife-are-benefits-achieving-your-goals

To measure the success of a benefits package, start with its basic role. Benefits aren’t just a cost of doing business, but an investment in your people and their performance.

“Benefits plans are intended to maximize resources – to maximize employee time and satisfaction,” says Rebika Shaw, SVP, strategy, sales and operations at Boston-based World-Care International. “How do you help employees feel valued, rewarded and happy? It happens in a combination of ways, but at your core that’s what you’re trying to do.”

“Benefits plans are intended to maximize resources – to maximize employee time and satisfaction.”
– Rebika Shaw

How do you assess all that? Direct methods include employee feedback and surveys. Probe beneath the surface, says Mira Jelic, co-founder of Novus Health, a Canadian health and wellness provider based in Toronto. Beyond general perceptions, learn how benefits rank against other elements of a healthy workplace. Do they offer support when needed? Which features are especially valued? Are staff aware of the scope of their benefits? What are  their wellness goals?

If you think of benefits as part of a broader effort to recruit, retain and reward people, then examine proxy measures that reflect those outcomes. “Define success metrics based on your organization’s goals,” says Jelic.

Sean Slater, executive vice president, sales and marketing, at Homewood Health in Guelph, Ont., says rates of turnover, absenteeism, employee satisfaction and productivity, for example, all give you a piece of the puzzle.

Sometimes the connections to benefits are clear. Shaw notes a study her firm did for Manulife on the effect of a second medical opinion service. In three-quarters of cases, a treatment changed, and the service prevented about 11 days off work for each of those employees (e.g., because of less invasive surgeries with shorter recovery times).

Many factors can affect the outcomes that Slater describes, from management style to a range of HR policies. Yet his point is that benefits must be seen as part of a broader strategy. Identify your workplace challenges and opportunities, consider what drives them, and then implement and measure the steps – including benefits – that can have an impact.

“Benefits are part of a key corporate strategy to grow and improve your business.”
– Mira Jelic

That’s one reason why benefits can’t be measured by dollars alone. As Jelic notes, from a purely financial perspective, an employee with high drug costs affects the bottom line. However, if the employee is highly valued  and able to be at work at his or her best, and if the organization is seen as a caring employer, the gains far outweigh the cost.

“Benefits are part of a key corporate strategy to grow and improve your business,” says Jelic. “Healthier employees are more productive employees.”

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