Use Health Benefits to Retain Employees

Survey suggests prioritizing employee health may help address the "Great Resignation."

May 16, 2022

Health Benefits for Employees

SECAUCUS, N.J.—Aside from lifting pay, employers who pay attention to their employees’ health and offer enhanced benefits might have an edge when it comes to retaining staff, a new Quest Diagnostics survey found.

Among employees thinking about changing jobs, better benefits in general (38%), better health-care benefits specifically (36%) and work/life balance (36%), were three of the top four reasons employees were considering a job change, according to "2022 Health at Work," a report from Quest Diagnostics. More money was the top reason for job seeking, cited by half of survey respondents.

The report is based on a survey of 423 HR benefits managers and executives with decision-making authority (HREs) and 846 office workers (employees) at companies with 100 workers or more.

Two-thirds of employees (66%) surveyed said they are thinking about changing jobs next year or have begun or recently completed a job change. More than 3 in 4 (78%) of HR leaders said their organization has been impacted by the "Great Resignation," and 90% believe they will have to improve benefit packages and increase wages. At the same time, more than 7 in 10 (72%) HREs surveyed also said it is likely there will be a recession that will impact hiring in the next year.

“While there has been significant attention on low pay, lack of flexibility and disrespect at work as main reasons driving the 'Great Resignation,' our findings suggest employee health programs play a major role as well," said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., senior vice president, R&D and medical, and chief medical officer. "Employers are taking extraordinary measures to attract and retain talent, and health-care benefits, access and affordability are areas of focus they can't afford to overlook to compete for workers."

Nearly three quarters of HREs surveyed (73%) worry that their employees may be sick with chronic illnesses because they haven’t had wellness checks during the pandemic.

Among employees, 3 in 5 (63%) said they put off routine medical appointments and/or screening during the past two years, and about 3 in 4 (77%) said preventive health care is hard to undertake during the pandemic.

Employers are increasingly prioritizing mental health, with 84% of HREs expressing concern about their employees' mental health, nearly the same proportion, 85%, who express concern about employees' physical health.

"Our report highlights the strategic importance of employer-based health-care strategies that deliver comprehensive mental and physical health benefits," said Cecilia K. McKenney, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Quest Diagnostics. "By promoting access to interventions that improve mental health, employers not only help at-risk colleagues navigate challenging personal and socioeconomic dynamics—they also elevate their organizations as employers-of-choice."

When it comes to employee health screening 90% of HREs and 89% of employees believe that these programs are essential for a company to be considered an employer of choice—despite more than 68% of both groups questioning if these programs lower medical costs. 

The survey findings also suggest that at-home screenings and telehealth can expand access to health care. Eighty-seven percent of both groups are comfortable with at-home biometric testing, and 76% of employees said if they could do it at-home they would have more screenings. However, 66% of HREs and 74% of employees believe that such measures can only complement, but not replace, in-person screenings.

Despite largely favorable perspectives of employer-based health services, more than half of employees (55%) are concerned about their employers being too involved in their health care, and more than two-thirds (67%) don't want their employers to know the results of their screenings or tests.

Listen to the Convenience Matters podcast episode No. 332 “Is the Great Resignation Over?” for advice from experts from McKinsey and Company for navigating this competitive labor environment.

Convenience retailers can access the Good Jobs Calculator, designed exclusively for NACS and the convenience industry. This tool allows retailers to use their own data and customized assumptions about the amount of improvement or uplift achievable, and executives can run scenarios on the bottom-line impact of a Good Jobs system.

This NACS webinar explored how retailers can attract and hire team members today and in the future. From virtual hiring to job shadowing, retailers are employing a host of ways to find and connect with potential workers.

Look for “Understanding Your Local Labor Landscape” in the December issue of NACS Magazine for tips on building an effective employee value proposition and how to gain an edge when competing for candidates.