We often hear that a company’s level of health and success “begins at the top.” In other words, the CEO has significant impact and responsibility in whether a company succeeds or fails. This means everything they choose to do and focus on has far-reaching effects — and these critical choices apply to employee benefits as much as anything else.
In fact, a study by the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable found a strong connection between employee participation in company health programs and the CEO’s own engagement in them. It also showed that employees pay attention to the CEO’s involvement in employee benefits — and this affects their opinions on how much their employer is invested in their well-being.
For example, the study showed that 93% of employees who know the CEO participates in benefits say their employer is committed to employee health, compared to 55% of those who say the CEO doesn’t participate.
When employees know the CEO is directly involved in their benefits, it can support greater company health, too. According to the study (based on a survey of more than 2,000 adults at workplaces with more than 25 people), workplaces where the CEO participates in employee benefits report higher productivity, work quality, and job satisfaction — by wide margins.
Leading by example: how the CEO’s involvement in benefits can make a difference
“Employers are key to building a culture of health and well-being,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, AHA chief medical officer for prevention. “By offering programs, whether they are related to health, finances, or mentorship, employers signal to their employees that they care about their health and well-being.”
A few ways the CEO can help lead the effort to offer better benefits programs — and boost company health in the process — include:
Mediating between HR and finance teams:
The CEO can balance demands from the HR team — who are focused on staff retention, morale, and productivity — and from the Finance team, who target cost savings in procuring employee benefits. A CEO can see the company’s overall financial outlook, enabling them to make smart purchasing decisions that account for the views of all teams.
Using their top-level view to weigh true costs and benefits:
A Manpower green paper states that replacing a worker costs 1.5 times their salary. The Center for American progress (CAP) shows an even higher cost — more than 2 times the salary — in replacing workers in top-paying jobs. The CEO’s high-level insights into the significant costs involved in replacing talent when they leave — from direct costs of recruiting and training to indirect costs of workflow disruptions and potentially dissatisfied customers — can lead to more profitable decisions around employee benefits.
Making wiser benefits choices to increase the bottom line:
High-quality benefits offerings are an essential part of driving employee engagement and attracting the best talent. This could be why 33% of CEOs in the 19th PWC CEO survey stated they were shifting their talent focus to pay, incentives, and benefits. Smart CEOs know employee benefits are a crucial way to gain a competitive advantage in hiring and retaining the best talent — a vital key to company health and a healthy bottom line.
Actively participating in programs and showing support as a fellow employee:
A report by Willis Towers Watson found corporate leadership teams increasingly recognizing the strong connection between a healthy workforce and company profitability. One way to foster this connection and boost the success of employee benefits programs is for the senior leadership team — led by the CEO — to personally participate in and demonstrate their full support of the programs. For example, seeing the CEO take a fitness break can make employees feel inspired and comfortable in doing the same.
Impacts of CEO-backed, first-rate benefits programs on company health
It’s clear the CEO has an integral role in ensuring their company offers good benefits packages that employees are happy with. In turn, this positively affects overall company health in a variety of ways with compounding beneficial effects, such as:
Boosting employee morale, leading to higher retention — When employees feel their employers care about their health, they’re more likely to trust their company and feel proud to work there, which directly supports higher retention rates.
Improving employee health, leading to higher productivity — Well-designed and supported benefits programs can help improve employee health. Healthier employees are less likely to take sick leave, and more likely to be productive at work.
Generating cost savings, leading to higher profitability — According to an American Express report, obesity alone can cause healthcare cost increases of over $6,000 per person per year. Having healthier, more productive, more engaged employees saves costs for both companies and employees, making everyone more profitable.
Interested in creating a better benefits experience for both employees and employers alike? Enrollme offers one platform for everything benefits related — and helps employers empower their employees with more choice and control. To learn more, schedule a consultation now.