A Better Understanding of Employee Engagement and Benefits

September 12, 2017

ACI Founder and CEO Dr. Ann D. Clark is a frequent media contributor. See Dr. Clark’s recent interview below, originally published in USA Today’s Mediaplanet insert.

“Today’s multigenerational, tech-savvy and socially-motivated employees want to work for companies rooted in a strong purpose with a thriving culture.”

What do you feel is the biggest health care challenge facing employers right now?

One of the biggest, and least talked about, health care challenges facing employers is mental health. With millennials reporting high rates of depression, the opioid addiction crisis and mounting evidence that stress and depression are linked to major physical health risks, employers need to look beyond traditional insurance to expand total well-being benefits and improve employee health.

What can be done to make employees more aware of benefits offered by employers?

The new workforce demands new benefits communication strategies. Instead of leaving benefits buried in handbooks, employers need to dramatically reimagine benefits engagement. From video marketing to social media and mobile apps, employers need to partner with benefits providers that offer modern marketing and on-demand access to drive benefits awareness, promote ongoing utilization and deliver the strongest return on investment.

ACI Specialty Benefits worked with one Fortune 500 company with over 100 locations nationwide that wanted to reinvigorate their benefit program. As part of the engagement strategy, ACI produced a new benefits website that allowed users to submit direct requests for services, live chat with ACI specialists and search for a wide range of resources. Targeted email announcements, trainings and video orientations, social media posts and benefits information across internal company websites led to a 166 percent increase in users accessing services from the previous year, and 20-25 percent increased benefits utilization.

In your experience, what benefits do employees find most valuable?

Employee expectations and new workforce trends are changing the way companies do business. Today’s multigenerational, tech-savvy and socially-motivated employees want to work for companies rooted in a strong purpose and mission with a thriving culture. HR leaders who invest in mental health support and people-first benefits will see the strongest “return-on-individual” through improved engagement and retention.

New benefits and perks that speak to modern workforce needs — like financial wellness, errand running, all-inclusive caretaking support and wellness coaching — will continue becoming strong tools for retention and engagement in the years ahead. High-quality EAPs and corporate concierge programs can address any major gaps in benefits for the new workforce and support best-place-to-work initiatives for any company.

Which industry trend are you most excited about as we move into 2018?

One of the fastest growing and biggest industry trends for 2018 is the emergence of popular concierge benefits, onsite perks and errand running at the workplace. Today’s employees are busy, juggling multiple work and life responsibilities, and personal time is often spent cramming in a long list of to-do items. Modern concierge and errand running benefits help employees take care of personal, life and family responsibilities and remain focused, present and happy at work.

More than just a trendy perk, concierge programs and errand running services are helping employers achieve higher rates of job satisfaction, productivity and engagement. Benefits that provide modern convenience, reduce stress and improve quality of life are important for today’s best places to work, especially in high-stress industries like technology, law, finance and health care.