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5 Ways to Save Money on Employee Healthcare Costs

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: April 23, 2018
Image credit: 2 Rido/Shutterstock

When your employees are out sick, your whole organization feels the loss, both in morale and in revenue.

Pay careful attention next time you watch professional sports. When a teammate comes in or goes out, the dynamic changes. Some teams adjust quickly to rapid switches; others don't. But the real kicker comes when a player leaves suddenly. Do the others rally? Or are they left floundering and at the mercy of their competition?

Your company has plenty in common with those athletic groups. Every time a worker calls in sick, you lose momentum because your team is no longer at full strength. Even if the employee shows up under the weather, called presenteeism, he or she is not likely to be fully productive. The whole organization suffers, and that suffering results in losses in morale, momentum, and profitability.

What's the solution? A healthy workforce, of course. Though you can't control every influenza outbreak or case of migraine, you can do your part to foster healthier living and working arrangements: fitness facilities at work, reduced membership fees for health clubs, nutrition-focused lunch and learns and better hygienic practices. They're all possibilities for businesses that are "in it to win it," because thinking of creative ways to help your employees live healthier is the only way to move the needle.

Many companies worry they can't afford such "fancy" health items. But what they really can't afford is to look the other way, especially when it comes to keeping house.

The high cost of slacking on sanitation

According to statistics from the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (ISSA), a spotless office lessens the likelihood of germs spreading among the population by up to 80 percent. And what workers wouldn't appreciate performing their best in a space with 62 percent fewer contaminated surfaces?

Human resource personnel already know what ISSA has reported: Managing tons of absences isn't cheap. In fact, studies show that the paperwork associated with monitoring and tracking sick days is money better spent elsewhere. Besides, prevention is always less expensive than intervention. Proper cleaning practices could literally be the "stitch in time" that saves nearly a dozen other "stitches.”

Additionally, workplaces that appear clean and disinfected simply make people feel proud. Everyone's walked into a business that effused questionable odors and sported mystery spots on the floors and walls. Not only does this make employees feel drained and disheartened, it causes clients to consciously or subconsciously wonder about the executive team's focus.

Want to waste less of your hard-earned revenue without giving up the dream of having a roster of willing, able and committed team members? Try incorporating some of these five health-boosting initiatives into your organization without overspending.

1. Incentivize wellness programs.

Wellness programs aren't new on the corporate scene, but too few encourage employees to participate. If you want your workers to give your company's wellness program a little love, why not reward them for their actions? For instance, offer a substantial credit for keeping up with annual physicals. Ideally, it will pay for itself because your employees won't miss the early warning signs of problems that can occur, like the onset of diabetes or high cholesterol.

2. Pay employees' medical claims.

Interested in bypassing the traditional method of purchasing healthcare coverage from a provider? No matter your size, you aren't compelled to legally conform with all state requirements depending upon your region. For example, try paying your workers' claims from the organization's coffers. It's a form of self-insurance that's been tested by 80 percent of large businesses in America. Now, even small to midsized companies are jumping into the self-funding mix. Remember, an added benefit to being self-funded involves being able to see claims information, which may provide insight into the types of programs your employees most need and deserve.

3. Be open-minded about telecommuting.

To maximize your budget and give employees a different option to take care of their mental and physical well-being, investigate telecommuting. Working remotely allows you to lease a smaller office space and save money on amenities. It can also be an advantage during cold and flu season – workers collaborating virtually can't pass around any germs or viruses. As a side advantage of telecommuting, employees feel more freedom to control their schedules, which lowers their stress levels.

4. Update your cleaning protocol.

What does your current cleaning and maintenance schedule look like? Is your vendor just going through the motions, or are you getting a consistent, thorough deep cleaning using green-certified cleaning products?

Worried about your cleaning crew's impact on your water bill? Not all systems use tons of water to get floors, carpets, and other surfaces pristine and sterile. Find one that requires minimal water but still performs brilliantly.

5. Reduce your company's existing expenses.

No matter the preventative healthcare measures you take, you know some employee healthcare costs are inevitable. Rather than allowing them to add up, reduce their collective effects on your expenses by jettisoning superfluous expenditures. For instance, you may switch carriers for your company's phones or negotiate lower rates with current vendors. Just like a home budget, a company budget often has excessive "fat" that could be trimmed.

The easiest path to having all of your personnel on board all day, every day is to nurture an environment that compensates them for staying on their A game. When you creatively look for ways to keep everyone's immune systems strong and fit, you'll see an improvement not only in the quality and quantity of work output but in your coffers as well.

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