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Employer Benefits from Healthy Population Initiatives Engagement

Posted by Chip Block on April 5, 2019 11:05 AM EDT
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The last series of blog posts from both Joe and Thomas have caught my eye and triggered some thinking about the implications for.....

....employee benefits and the value of employers being engaged, involved and actively supporting local community healthy living and/or recovery initiatives.

I applaud both of my colleagues for providing some "thin" insight into several good books they have read and spun their areas of expertise-management consulting and local media and local collective impact projects.  The ideas that they have shared are worth consideration.  But it is still pretty "early in the game" for actually determining the best course of action.  However, it's also important to begin thinking about the relevance of the right actions and what are the best steps forward.  Better minds than mine can tackle that.

After reading the three books they have blogged about myself and having read both of their blog posts about them, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a short blog posting of my own.  As is the case with most established and perhaps mature industries these days, it should come as no surprise that the area of employee benefits is ripe for market-creating innovations and other innovative new approached to bring value back to the ever-increasing costs of employer-sponsored benefits.  Truly, for many employers, this is an area that is overshot-drawing from Dr. Christensen's well-known phrase for products and services that are too good, too complex, too expensive and too inconvenient for most consumers and businesses.  In fact, as we have written before traditional employee benefits costs have increased at multiples of the CPI and the quality has become suspect.

That said, I am not proposing that we focus on innovating around the traditional employer benefits offerings-even thought that is a key component for strategic change.  The purpose of this blog post is to simply suggest that given the key lessons from the three books, all woven together, there is a new kind of "good enough", "family-centric" and "geographically-focused potential benefit that is low cost.  And that notion is that employers should find ways to engage their employees in volunteer service roles with larger scale community-wide collective impact projects around key components of the five dimensions of wellbeing-namely career wellbeing, financial wellbeing, social wellbeing, physical wellbeing, and community wellbeing.

By supporting these types of community-based initiatives and engaging teams of employees-and their families-in service to the broader community through hands-on engagement in collective impact projects in any of the five areas of wellbeing, employers might find that they can have a substantial impact on the results of the initiative.  And their sponsorship and support will impact the wellbeing of their employee volunteers, including creating more loyalty to the employer.

It's a theory at this point.  But many employers already support United Way initiatives and other programs where employees help generate community support and financial aid.  Engaging these employees in support of a formalized community-focused collective impact would simply be an innovative extension of the traditional efforts already in place for most employers and in most communities.

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