Health Now

Employer Aid: The Most Appreciated Employee Benefit?

While salary and superannuation contributions are expected, it’s always an exciting feeling to read about the additional employee benefits as a prospective employee when reviewing an employment contract. Reviewing potential employee benefits recommended to organisations, however, yields fairly obvious answers:

  • Contributions to private health insurance
  • Hybrid work environment options
  • Parental leave benefits
  • Professional development allowance
  • Career progression (pay rises and bonuses)


The problem here? Not only are these more or less expected in our post-COVID workforce, they almost always come with some limitations. Contributions to private health insurance typically cover the “standard” plans that only allow for reactive (not proactive) healthcare once you’re already sick, hybrid work environments often set specific days/hours with limited flexibility, and everyone expects career progression opportunities as a natural part of the job and to be covered for their professional development expenses – given the benefit it also gives the business. While they’re good benefits, there’s nothing really special about them that stands out, reflects the value or culture of the company, or could separate one potential employer from another offering similar benefits. 

With employee benefits having the potential to play a role in staff acquisition, staff retention, staff satisfaction and morale, and even staff health – what can a business be doing to stand out from the rest and gain genuine appreciation from employees when it comes to employee benefits? One simple, effective and easy-to-implement solution is employer aid payments


Why Employer Aid Payments Stand Out

Employer aid payments stand out over standard one-size-fits-all health benefits because giving employees a set monetary sum to put directly towards their health in the best ways they see fit, recognises that a specific person’s health priorities, and their definition of health, can vary greatly. And for most – it goes far beyond the ‘specialist’ and ‘reactive’ care – like seeing an eye doctor once you already have an eye infection, or seeing musculoskeletal health professionals once your sciatic pain has been disturbing you for weeks without easing. 

For many, they have proactive health and wellness goals they’re actively working towards – and would much prefer to use their allocated health funds to work towards these goals. This will help them prevent future illness or injury, instead of having to take time off to feel poorly at home and only then be entitled to access health services to try to restore their health.

Offering employer aid allows your team to use their annual allocated health funds – at the amount you set – to best support their health within the health service sectors that a business selects – with most choosing the full suite of HealthNow’s health service providers. Practically, this means your employees may choose to access:

  • Psychology services to discuss current hardships or past traumas that may be unrelated to work, but can affect work performance and satisfaction
  • Exercise physiology services to create a plan to achieve a lifelong goal of getting fit and healthy, by first addressing any factors that are holding that person back
  • Nutritionist support to address any nutritional issues or deficiencies that may be having a significant impact on a person’s quality of life
  • Dental care helps an employee restore their confidence by helping them get and stay on top of their oral health, an area that may currently be a key cause of unease or discomfort
  • Finally having the opportunity to see a GP over non-urgent matters, such as ordering blood tests to investigate an underlying issue that an employee may have suspected for many months or years, without having the resources to be able to take action

You may also choose to allow your employee’s employer aid funds to be leveraged across their entire immediate family, knowing that a person’s health and well-being are often tied to the wellness of their family members – whether it’s an unwell child for which they then need to take leave to care for, or having a partner dealing with more complex issues like stress or anxiety disorders.

In all of these situations, your employer aid contributions switch from being standard and helpful, to being empowering – which is a massive shift from what most organisations currently offer. 


The Benefits To Your Business Are Significant

With all the talk of employee benefits, we can’t overlook the potential benefits to businesses and organisations of shifting to employer aid payments, which include:

  • Improved employee satisfaction leading to improved productivity: research 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 also potentially providing an alternative option to a raise if cost is a big factor: 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.
  • Supporting new 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.


Getting Started With Employer Aid Is Simple And Easy

The best part about employer aid with HealthNow is that the processes around implementing it in your business are made easy and simple as you are welcomed into their AI-driven platform and international technology. As a business, you are in full control of how employer aid is designed within your organisation – deciding exactly how you want to distribute funds, the amounts allocated per employee, and the service suites you’d like to include.

Then, it’s a hassle-free experience for your team – using their account much like an eftpos card on their phone together with an eftpos terminal. You also get full insight into how your funds are being used overall, which can also help you make strategic business decisions and implement further wellness initiatives that are in line with what employees actually want and will benefit from.


Ready to take the next step to effectively supporting your employees to look after their health? Get started with HealthNow today.


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