To measure the success of a benefitspackage, start with its basicrole. Benefits aren’t just a cost of doing business, but an investment inyour people and their performance.
“Benefits plans are intended tomaximize resources – to maximizeemployee time and satisfaction,” saysRebika Shaw, SVP, strategy, sales andoperations at Boston-based World-Care International. “How do you helpemployees feel valued, rewarded andhappy? It happens in a combination ofways, but at your core that’s what you’retrying to do.”
How do you assess all that? Directmethods include employee feedbackand surveys. Probe beneath the surface,says Mira Jelic, co-founder ofNovus Health, a Canadian health andwellness provider based in Toronto.Beyond general perceptions, learn howbenefits rank against other elementsof a healthy workplace. Do they offersupport when needed? Which featuresare especially valued? Are staff awareof the scope of their benefits? What are their wellness goals?
If you think of benefits as part of abroader effort to recruit, retain andreward people, then examine proxy measures that reflect those outcomes.“Define success metricsbased on your organization’sgoals,” says Jelic.
Sean Slater, executive vicepresident, sales and marketing,at Homewood Health in Guelph,Ont., says rates of turnover, absenteeism,employee satisfaction andproductivity, for example, all giveyou a piece of the puzzle.
Sometimes the connections tobenefits are clear. Shaw notes astudy her firm did for Manulifeon the effect of a second medicalopinion service. In three-quartersof cases, a treatment changed,and the service prevented about11 days off work for each of thoseemployees (e.g., because of lessinvasive surgeries with shorterrecovery times).
Many factors can affect the outcomesthat Slater describes, frommanagement style to a range ofHR policies. Yet his point is thatbenefits must be seen as part ofa broader strategy. Identify yourworkplace challenges and opportunities, consider what drivesthem, and then implement andmeasure the steps – includingbenefits – that can have an impact.
That’s one reason why benefitscan’t be measured by dollarsalone. As Jelic notes, from apurely financial perspective, anemployee with high drug costs affects the bottom line. However,if the employee is highly valued and able to be at work at his orher best, and if the organizationis seen as a caring employer, the gains far outweigh the cost.
“Benefits are part of a keycorporate strategy to grow andimprove your business,” says Jelic.“Healthier employees are moreproductive employees.”