Basics

FSA Friday - 2/1/19 - See where benefit costs go!

A picture is worth a thousand words. It might be a dated thing to say to an Instagram audience, but when it comes to adding some impact to data, it couldn't be more relevant. Especially when it comes to an area as confusing as health care costs.

This week's headline is built on that premise. Scott Wooldridge of BenefitsPRO gets to the bottom of a new analysis on the cost of employee benefits. And not just the overarching totals, but rather a clear view on how certain variables -- like geography, industry and size -- all affect the value of our benefit packages.

Breaking down benefit costs: 6 charts that show where the money goes - Scott Wooldridge, BenefitsPRO

The analysis was put together by Bay Alarm Medical, which published a report that compared a slate of employee benefits to overall costs of compensation (supplied by data on more than 27,000 roles and 6,600+ industries). The goal? To find out where companies are spending the most money on employee benefits.

We obviously won't repeat the report in full - they did a fantastic job on their own. So, here's a link to the full "Worth of Your Well-Being" report, followed by a few highlights we thought might be of some interest to you, starting with what the report calls 'the big picture.'

Overall cost of compensation

As the related chart points out clearly, almost 70% of employer compensation costs come from wages and salaries, with most of the remainder going to benefits -- an average of nearly $22,000 per employee, per year. Yet, health insurance covers just 7.5% of overall compensation, and other, more fringe benefits like student loan repayment are barely represented.

Benefit costs are increasing rapidly

This area saw a 28% growth over the last 14 years -- likely due to more chronic illness, aging workforces, and the higher costs of premiums.

The analysis finds that total costs of benefits to employers have increased 368% over that same 14 years. During that time, health benefit cost has increased by 28%, which the study attributes to chronic illness and rising costs from health care providers.

But it should be mentioned there was also a 161.8% boost in vacation use -- remember what we've been discussing each week about work/life balance being a factor to young employees? Well, now we have some visual data to back it up.

The charts and breakdowns are very well done and worth a look, even if you're just a little interested in seeing where your company might be allocating its money. After all, employees are a company's greatest asset -- and you deserve to know how they're investing in you.

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FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Basics

FSA Friday - 1/18/19 - Gauging and measuring employee wellness

For the last several months, we've taken a close look at the shifting priorities of modern workers. Not only discussing what employees want from their benefits, but also their motivations for doing so. However, we've never had much of an opportunity to see how these changing benefits are -- well -- benefiting the companies that made this happen.

This week, we do just that. Thanks to this article, centered on a Gallup study of employee engagement and wellness, we have a better idea of which shifts have had the most impact, and which areas still need some serious attention.

10 Timely Statistics About The Connection Between Employee Engagement And Wellness - Naz Beheshti, Forbes

Right from the outset, the author Beheshti sets a good tone for the piece, indicating that employee engagement is on the rise, topping out at 34% at the time of the survey. But then she asks a pivotal question: "...should we really settle for a situation where two-thirds of our workforce is still not fully engaged?"

The answer is (obviously) "no." Because, as good as it is to hear employee satisfaction is on the upswing, the effects of unhealthy, disengaged employees on workplaces are still damaging productivity in a very big way.

The author goes on to cite 10 key points from a Gallup survey that add some quantification to the still-ambiguous subject of employee wellness. We all know that engaged employees tend to be more productive - but now we have some more-recent data to support these claims.

Obviously, we can't highlight each of the 10 points here. But there are a handful of findings that caught our attention, as it relates to the work we do here.

First, the report found that "highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability."

That's right - 21%. And truthfully, we're a little surprised it isn't a touch higher. Because it all comes down to efficiency. As the author points out here, successful companies engage employees at all levels, increasing productivity, reducing the number of times workers call out, and limiting turnover. Happy employees like their work, and show up each day to do it.

The flip side to this approach? Well, check the "loss" column for more insights. As we learn here, disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year.

Billion.

Data culled from a collaboration known as The Engagement Institute -- which includes contributions from Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works and more -- not only highlights the financial ramifications of disengaged employees, but also maps out the reasons why this is a crucial, but often overlooked part of organizational culture.

In short? Workers that are healthy are simply more productive, and believe in the work they do. Companies can foster these positive feelings by engaging employees at every level, from physical surroundings, to wellness programs and an increased focus on work-life balance, so they come to work refreshed and fully behind the company's mission.

There are a wealth of other meaningful findings in the article, including some salient points about how employee wellness programs are even permeating healthier home lives. It's a worthy read, no matter which side of the employer/employee relationship you reside.

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FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.