By Amy Meister, DO, MRO
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2021, more than 47 million Americans quit their jobs as part of “the Great Resignation.” Further, an estimated 48 percent of work-eligible Americans are actively searching for jobs or watching for new opportunities. These trends and the emergence of “quiet quitting” indicate that pandemic-induced societal shifts in work-life expectations are unlikely to end anytime soon. Business as usual is no longer sustainable during this time of “the Great Reassessment.”
When employees consider new career opportunities, they look for employers who will support them not only in managing their health and related costs but also broader goals like finding connection and purpose. It is important for employers facing these cultural shifts and a strong labor market to evaluate benefits packages and consider innovative approaches and offerings that can help attract and retain top talent and foster resilience.
What defines an innovative benefits package? At UPMC, we believe these are must-haves:
1. Access to data-driven, personalized care and resources that support employees and their families where they are. Data is the best driver of a personalized experience, whether it’s retirement plan and financial health data; information garnered from employee stress assessments; or population health, chronic disease, or health risk factor data. By identifying who may benefit most from a myriad of resources and offering programming like health coaching, financial wellness resources, medical decision plan guides, and a pharmacy savings program, employers can demonstrate that they “see, hear, and value” their workforce. Employees may then be empowered to engage in whole-person care for themselves and their families.
2. Technology for accessing and managing physical health. Technology solutions that allow employees to engage with healthcare providers conveniently and effectively are essential to a competitive benefits package. Tech may include solutions for receiving care, managing prescriptions, understanding health care costs, and making payments, as well as apps to support self-management of chronic conditions.
3. Programs, services, and supports for mental health and well-being. Anxiety and depression rates are soaring across demographics and age groups, making easily accessible and affordable mental health services a cornerstone of benefits packages. Offering wellness incentives and workshops on mindfulness, stress reduction, yoga, and coping skills are also supportive ways by which employers can empower employees to find connection and bolster their resilience.
4. Holistic benefits that support employees facing life events. Health and wellness are influenced by environmental stressors. As such, benefits packages that include access to financial planning, legal, childcare, eldercare, and tuition resources promote whole-person care by supporting employees through a variety of life situations.
The future of health care and benefits involves continued innovation to meet employees where they are. During this Great Reassessment, workplaces that support holistic, personalized employee experiences are most likely to have successful recruitment and retention efforts, and a more satisfied and resilient workforce.
Amy Meister, DO, MRO is the associate chief medical officer of the UPMC Insurance Services Division, where she leads digital health development and development of innovative, comprehensive clinical and member support programs. She also provides strategic, programmatic and medical leadership for the Workpartners team, the UPMC Employer Group program, LifeSolutions and Employee Health programs.