Employees are leaving their jobs in record numbers as the economy regains the strength it has lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately four million employees left their jobs in April 2021 alone, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest number since the Bureau started publishing this data 21 years ago.
The reasons employees leave their jobs vary, but some of the most common ones include burnout, desire for new challenges or to build new job skills, seeking a better paying position, wanting more flexibility and the desire for better work/life balance. For some employees, nothing their employer does will convince them to remain in their current job. But employers do have the opportunity to change some employees’ minds and reduce future turnover by taking stock of their current health and wellness benefit offerings and making adjustments to address what employees are looking for.
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Support employee mental health and well-being
The pandemic has changed the types of health and wellness benefits employees prioritize. Of course, good health insurance is still at the top of most employees’ lists, but demand for benefits and programs that specifically focus on supporting mental health is now a close second.
Not only does mental health impact employee well-being and physical health, but it can also affect productivity, absenteeism and healthcare costs for employers. To help employees and their family members get the mental healthcare they need, employers can consider these strategies:
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Expand benefits for virtual care
While virtual care or telehealth doesn’t work for all types of health issues, employees have found it to be a valuable addition to the ways they can access care. Being able to connect with their physician virtually means they don’t have to lose time from work traveling to the doctor’s office.
Because it’s easy to access, virtual care has the potential to help employees stay on track managing chronic health conditions. Connecting with their physician to monitor and manage their condition becomes more convenient, potentially increasing employee compliance with their treatment plans. Better compliance also can prevent conditions from becoming more serious and more costly.
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Another important virtual care tool is remote second opinions. Providing virtual access to second opinions from expert physicians across the country helps ensure that employees’ diagnoses are accurate and that the recommended treatment plans are appropriate.
Offer resources for employees and family members diagnosed with serious illnesses
Because of the pandemic, preventive screenings for cancer dropped drastically over the past year. This pause in screening resulted in an 86% to 94% drop in preventive cancer screenings compared to the same time period during the three previous years according to data gathered from 2.7 million electronic patient records representing 190 hospitals in 23 states.
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Although screenings have been rebounding and are approaching pre-pandemic levels, physicians have raised concerns that missed and delayed screenings will lead to an increase in the number of people diagnosed with more advanced cancer and possibly, 10,000 extra cancer deaths over the next 10 years. Data from the American Society of Radiation Oncologists found that two-thirds of the radiation oncologists surveyed noted new patients were being diagnosed with more advanced cancers.
To support employees and family members who receive a delayed diagnosis of more advanced cancer or other serious diseases, employers can provide access to care navigators. These navigators can help employees get appointments with experienced specialists, arrange second opinions, collect and review medical records.
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They can also connect employees and family members with mental health and social support services as well as nutrition and wellness specialists who can help employees manage the side effects of treatment and their disease, all with the goal of achieving the best possible outcome.