It’s difficult to recall a period in history that has produced more challenges and uncharted territory for business leaders than this year. From closures to financial losses, operating disruptions caused by Covid-19 have led to soaring unemployment and increased concerns about mental and physical well-being for people of all ages. No one has been exempt from this dynamic. And if your company has been fortunate enough to have maintained financial stability during the pandemic, chances are, you’ve still had to rethink your operating model and reimagine your workplace.
The series of events our country has experienced in the past several months has forced business leaders at all levels to press “pause” and consider their leadership priorities. As president of Quantum Health, the leading consumer healthcare navigation and care coordination company, I have been afforded unique insight into how executive leaders at a variety of organizations are not only responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, but how they’ve adapted their businesses as a result of dramatic economic fallout, coupled with the myriad social crises we’ve seen thus far in 2020.
What we’ve witnessed is a shifting of priorities that I believe can ultimately have a positive impact on corporate financial performance, as well as workplace culture and employee engagement. While people, process and profits have always been top leadership priorities, companies are now approaching things differently, finding more ways to ensure their employees are treated as their greatest asset, while at the same time balancing necessary cost efficiencies across the organization.
Take employee healthcare benefits, for example. I have seen numerous instances of innovative leaders who, rather than cutting back on benefits to prop up the bottom line, are incorporating even more health and well-being benefits for their employees and their families. In addition to supporting employee satisfaction in a challenging time, these efforts are helping them achieve higher engagement with their benefits and ultimately, more cost efficiency. Whether you’ve implemented workplace safety measures, amped up equipment and support that allows employees to effectively work from home, increased paid leave, started covering cost sharing for Covid-19 services, or expanded mental health benefits, by and large, most of us are committed to doing right by our employees. And, in the end, that increases company value.
Finding opportunity in challenging times
As you define your go-forward business strategy for the immediate future, consider the following opportunities to turn these challenging times into positive change for your organization.
1. Put employee needs first to increase commitment. Yes, the bottom line still matters, and people matter more. You’ve likely already found ways to pivot your business model, adjust the way you work to keep your employees safe, and accommodate parents who are juggling work with kids of all ages at home. Equally important are efforts to help employees who are grappling with uncertain health and financial situations and navigating challenges related to the emotional and mental health of themselves and their families. Don’t think this should be your top priority? Consider the fact that 80% of employees believe employers have some responsibility to support their health and well-being. By demonstrating to employees that you understand how this unusual collision of work and personal life might be affecting them, you have the opportunity to improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty, and positively position your company.
2. Help employees understand healthcare options and improve utilization of benefits. Now more than ever, employees and families need to rely on their health benefits. And it’s even better if they fully understand how to use those benefits in times of need. But is simply understanding really enough? At a time when healthcare is complex and the mere thought of seeing a doctor for non-emergency care invokes concern, you have the opportunity to show employees that you are invested in their health and well-being while delivering a more efficient, person-centered healthcare journey. One way to do this is through healthcare navigation services.
In our work with companies to improve the healthcare journey through consumer healthcare navigation and care coordination we have seen firsthand the remarkable results that can be achieved. As options like telehealth increase dramatically, individuals and families have more choices than ever for receiving care. But sometimes, the most efficient path of medical decisions may not always be clear. This can result in poor outcomes and costly mistakes for employees and employers alike. In addition, the slow resurgence of elective procedures may make it difficult to get an appointment, to access in-network providers and/or identify the options for care. For these reasons alone, integrating solutions like healthcare navigation can alleviate redundancy and waste, at the same time creating stronger employee engagement and ultimately reaping cost savings to you.
3. Reduce healthcare costs by intervening early. Employer-sponsored healthcare benefits may likely be one of your largest financial outlays. And when cost-cutting measures need to be considered, this is the last place anyone wants to turn. At Quantum Health, each year through an independent actuarial analysis of our total book of business, we see firsthand that healthcare navigation and care coordination can deliver proven and consistent cost savings. For example, our clients have seen reduced claims costs of 5.7% after year one, and 14.4% cumulatively after five years. This is attributed not to a reduction in benefits, but to deep provider relationships that enable early intervention before a first health claim is ever filed.
While the pressure on businesses has intensified, as leaders we also have many opportunities to adapt, transform, and further support our employees. Find opportunities where people and profits can co-exist, by reconsidering your healthcare benefits program. During this challenging time, take advantage of the potential to create something new and better – for your employees and your organization.