Health benefits

Health is an asset, not a cost, as war for talent escalates, CFOs say

The shortage of workers after the pandemic has heightened the importance for CFOs to think about employee health insurance plans.

CFOs can no longer see health plans as another expense that they must contain.

They should see them as benefits to a business by increasing productivity and retaining talent, said Paul Fronstin, director of the health education and research program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

“A health plan is a form of financial well-being for workers,” the Washington, DC think tank specialist said. “If you let him down, people can leave. If you reduce it, people can leave.

Kate Brown, head of the Mercer Center for Health Innovation, said all business goals relate in one way or another to the people you employ, and the best way to make sure your business is healthy is to make sure your employees are healthy.

Viewing benefits as an investment in your business, as opposed to a cost center, will achieve broader business goals, she said.

Strategic asset

Employee health benefits are a critical strategic asset to achieving business goals because of the motivation they inspire and the costs they avoid, said Lorna Borenstein, CEO and founder of Grokker, a company that offers employee health engagement solutions for global companies such as Delta Air Lines. , CVS Santé and GE.

“Providing health benefits that give employees a sense of purpose, belonging and balance is essential to keeping them engaged and productive and achieving all of the business goals that come with it,” she said.

The costs of poor employee health, she added, can be substantial. Employee disengagement due to ill health costs employers $ 530 billion a year in the United States, including $ 280 billion in lost productivity ($ 198 billion in impaired performance and $ 82 billion in cost of (opportunity of absences), she said.

As companies struggle to find and retain workers after the pandemic, Borenstein said, good health plans can be just as good an incentive as wages. “Employee health benefits are probably the most important thing in attracting and retaining talent,” she said.

Borenstein pointed to polls which found 61% of people would be willing to accept a lower pay if a company had a great benefits package while 42% say they are considering quitting their current job because the benefits are insufficient and 73% of the professionals questioned are looking for better health and well-being offers from their employers.

“A corporate culture based on caring for employees as a whole is the most important driver of loyalty, performance and results,” she said. “The impact is exponential, linked to a 56% increase in performance and a 75% reduction in sick days.”


The importance of strong health plans was underscored by Jim Morgan, CFO of CallRail, a business analytics and communications platform.

“In today’s competitive job market, employees are examining all aspects of their compensation, and we need to stay competitive across all of our healthcare services to attract and retain top talent,” he said. he declares. “In today’s market, every aspect of total rewards is essential. Companies cannot afford weakness in any area or they will be at a disadvantage in attracting and retaining talent.

Morgan said a company can do its best to control health care costs by offering health plans that best match what their employees are looking for, such as a health savings account versus a health plan. traditional health care for employees who rarely have health expenses or those who want more freedom over how and when their benefits can be used.

Another way to keep costs down is to conduct an annual audit to ensure that the population is managed transparently and that employees and their families are receiving the care they need to match the employer’s offerings. said Katie Rooney, CFO of Alight Solutions, a cloud computing company. provider of integrated human capital and digital business solutions,

“Many employers underestimate the costs associated with employees making inefficient and uninformed healthcare decisions,” she said. “Helping employees through the plan selection process can help shift costs and directing them to the right suppliers can help reduce expenses within the plan. “

It is also possible to save money by implementing proactive programs, including competitive wellness competitions. These can help your overall employee base stay healthy, reduce bonuses, and promote employee retention, which directly correlates to cost savings and increased productivity, said Chad Gold, director. financial of Salesloft.

Mercer’s Brown said that one thing to keep in mind about the cost of a health plan is that many elements of a benefit strategy can measure “value on investment” (VOI) as opposed to return on investment. investment, because there are many elements of value beyond dollar savings. .