Brenda Cotton, Work Health Solutions
Fringe benefits are additions to compensation, such as stock options, childcare, meal subsidization, transportation, education, professional and personal development, vacations, flexible schedules and more.
Although fringe benefits account for more than 30 percent of labor costs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, offering them can yield significant returns that help foster a company’s growth and staying power. More and more, custom-tailored occupational health and wellness programs are being added to corporate fringe benefit portfolios, not just to keep a workforce safe and functioning, but as a strategy to attracting and retaining top talent.
Employees Demand Higher Health and Safety Standards
The pandemic’s impact on the workplace has led to a workforce expectation of a higher standard of safety, health and care. This expectation has evolved into a make-or-break requirement for many job seekers. According to AlertMedia’s “State of Employee Safety Report” released in March 2022, 90 percent of American workers believe their organization has a duty of care — a legal and moral obligation — to protect employees from risk or harm, and nearly all (97 percent) of those surveyed said feeling safe at work is an important factor in determining the longevity of their career.
The “Great Resignation” is Real
According to a WalletHub survey from May 2022, Nevada workers have quit their jobs at a rate of about 3.74 percent over the past year; only six states have a higher resignation rate. With the “Great Resignation” hitting organizations in every industry, caring and investing in employee safety is more than just good business. Beyond checking the box on compliance, building a robust occupational health program can help recruiting efforts, decrease turnover and improve the financial and organizational health of a company.
Happy employees attract new hires, and providing a work environment that’s not only reactive in regard to safety, but has a proactive approach to health and wellness is an effective strategy to attract a pool of potential candidates, which can aid an organization in building an effective workforce.
Occupational Health and Wellness can be a Fringe Benefit
The practice of occupational health is often viewed as post-injury treatment, but there are many fundamental services companies can offer staff to provide a higher quality of care beyond just sending them to the nearest workplace urgent care clinic. Developing a program with wellness benefits that aren’t just OSHA mandated but are preventative in nature can be one of the most valuable fringe benefits for employees.
A customized program can look different for every business. Creating one that prioritizes what your employees find most valuable and optimizes their health is essential. Whether offered onsite, near-site, mobile or virtually, occupational health and wellness programs can include services such as: primary care, physicals, lab tests and prescriptions; health screenings; health risk assessments; acupuncture and chiropractic care; health coaching for stress reduction, weight loss, and smoking cessation; fitness and exercise; nutrition education; vaccination clinics; and preventative programs for employers with high repetitive injuries who want to reduce the cost of workers’ compensation claims and recordable injuries.
As corporate America continues to compete in filling a record number of job openings, candidates are actively searching for employers who share their values, so taking health and safety seriously aligns with new workforce ideals. Implementing a strong occupational health program can also help an organization build a positive, long-lasting relationship with its employees. Staff who feel cared for and valued are less likely to leave and tend to be more satisfied with their employers, which can have a positive impact on morale while boosting productivity.