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Employer Aid is Helping NZ Businesses

Employer Aid Is Helping NZ Businesses Stand Out

As of the end of Q1 in 2022, statistics show that our unemployment rates here in New Zealand are at a record low since the 1980’s. Pair that with the number of jobs listed on job-seeking platform, Seek, at a record high with 27% annual growth, and we’ve highlighted an important challenge that will affect many NZ employers over the coming months: employee retention and acquisition.

One of the ways that employers are standing out and offering a point of difference on their employment offers and benefits scheme is by shifting away from offering private health insurance plans, discounted or covered, that only work to benefit singular employees under certain circumstances, and moving to completely flexible employer aid payments that can be used for the whole family.

Here’s a look into why this shift is occurring, how companies are benefiting in even more ways than retention and acquisition, and what you need to know to see if this could be the right move for your business.

The Shift To Better Health Support

A key driver behind the shift for many companies to change the way they support the health of their employees lies in both listening to what they want, and coming to the understanding that a person’s definition of health is unique – and so is the way they care for it. 

For many, health isn’t the textbook definition, like when you need to see a doctor for antibiotics. Instead, it’s about addressing parts of your lifestyle that are wearing you down and making you more vulnerable to illness, whether that’s physical, mental or emotional. This can look like working with a nutritionist – or a naturopath – or a psychologist – or an exercise physio – really, it’s about having the freedom to choose who you want to work with in the health realm without strict terms highlighted in your plan that clearly outline how you may and may not use the funds to seek help.

Similarly, for many, facing genuine health struggles and seeking financial support, they often don’t meet the criteria set out in health insurance – and may not even have a formal diagnosis. Take the decision to start a family – an exciting time that is highly challenging for as many as one in four New Zealand families. Feeling supported and looking after a person’s well-being in this instance means using the money you’ve been allocated for your health for the things that will genuinely help you through this tough time – like prenatal vitamins, conception aids, fertility acupuncture sessions – and so on. All elements that are not covered by regular health insurance. Some families may also want to consult a fertility specialist early to understand their options, yet cannot get any help as either they’re not covered, or they haven’t waited the minimum of one year of trying to conceive that is required to formally move forwards.

Finally, at times, looking after our own health means looking after our family’s health. While NZ health insurance plans do not cater for this with plans being assigned strictly to a specific person, self-directed employer aid benefits, where the funds are deposited straight into a health-specific payment wallet, do. To sum it all up, the diverse ways in which we all prefer to care for our health is being acknowledged and accepted, more businesses are listening, and employees are valuing the option to take control and have a proactive and flexible approach to health cover.

The Benefits To Businesses

Of course, there are plenty of other benefits to businesses for this shift to employer aid payments, a few of which include:

  • Improved satisfaction can lead to improved productivityresearch from the University of Warwick shows that happy employees perform their jobs 12% better, while stressed, dissatisfied workers perform 10% worse. By empowering employees to care for their family’s health, it can improve employee satisfaction. 
  • Improved employee retention while providing an alternative option to a raise – Glassdoor’s employee confidence survey showed that 79% of employees would prefer new or additional benefits over a pay increase. The benefits valued more highly than a pay raise included better health cover – or health cover at all (40%), vacation days or paid time off (37%), performance bonuses (35%), more paid sick days (32%), and more superannuation (31%). By listening to employees and what they want, the chance of retention increases.
  • Employee acquisition in today’s competitive market – 56% of adults surveyed in the US that had employer-sponsored health benefits said that whether or not they like their health coverage is a key factor in deciding to stay at their current job. 46% also said that health insurance was either the deciding factor or a positive influence in choosing their current job.
  • Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism days – sick days (absenteeism) can be a big issue for businesses, estimated to cost NZ employers in excess of one billion dollars per year in addition to the risk of lowering productivity by 18%. Combined with presenteeism (being present but not being fully functional), employers are taking a hit of approximately 2 billion dollars per year, according to Southern Cross, while employees are living with poorer health throughout. By taking action both immediately and preventatively, businesses can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism rates.

What Can Employer Aid Look Like In Your Business?

Even when an option is valuable in theory, the processes around implementing it in your business can make it feel out of reach. This is where HealthNow steps in to make it easy and simple, by welcoming you into their AI-driven platform and international technology that comes with a dedicated health saver’s wallet for employer aid payments.

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