Infla­tion is a silent bud­get killer- it caus­es every­thing to go up, from your gro­ceries to your gas, as the pur­chas­ing pow­er of mon­ey decreas­es.  Amer­i­cans are feel­ing the pinch as the U.S. expe­ri­ences the high­est infla­tion lev­el in 40 years.

Infla­tion has been par­tic­u­lar­ly frus­trat­ing for Amer­i­cans who are strug­gling to pay for items such as hous­ing, food, ener­gy, and vehi­cles.  How­ev­er, con­sumer goods aren’t the only thing that have increased — employ­ee ben­e­fit costs are also on the rise.  With ris­ing infla­tion rates, many employ­ers are strug­gling with ris­ing health­care costs.  A sur­vey of large employ­ers from the Kaiser Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion found that 96% of respon­dents agree that the high costs of offer­ing health­care to their employ­ees are excessive.

With infla­tion increas­ing, you may be tempt­ed to cut ben­e­fits pack­ages, but now more than ever, a gen­er­ous ben­e­fits and perks pack­age is cru­cial to retain­ing employ­ees.  In fact, 63% of com­pa­nies say that retain­ing is hard­er than hir­ing them.  Amidst the Great Res­ig­na­tion, HR is hav­ing to fig­ure out how to alle­vi­ate the increas­ing ben­e­fit costs with­out pass­ing those costs on to their employ­ees and fac­ing even greater turnover.  For­tu­nate­ly, there are some strate­gies that employ­ers can use to remain com­pet­i­tive in today’s mar­ket while still pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty ben­e­fits for their employees:

  • Fos­ter a Healthy Work­force — The health­i­er your employ­ees are, the less like­ly they are to have exten­sive health­care costs. Well­ness pro­grams are a great way to pro­mote a healthy lifestyle.  A cost-effec­tive way to pro­vide well­ness ben­e­fits while help­ing employ­ees through peri­ods of high infla­tion is through a well­ness stipend. With a well­ness stipend, you reim­burse your employ­ees for their well­ness costs such as gym mem­ber­ships, home exer­cise equip­ment and well­ness apps.
  • Encour­age the Use of Vir­tu­al Med­ical Ser­vices – With telemed­i­cine, employ­ees can sched­ule an appoint­ment with your health care provider or spe­cial­ist. They don’t have to dri­ve to the doctor’s office, park or sit in a wait­ing room.  They can see their doc­tor from the com­fort of their bed or sofa which makes it eas­i­er to fit into a busy sched­ule.  Telemed­i­cine appoint­ments are usu­al­ly short vis­its, so employ­ees can get back to work more quickly.
  • Sup­ple­ment Your Group Plan With a Group Cov­er­age HRA — One strat­e­gy employ­ers can imple­ment to low­er costs while extend­ing cov­er­age is to add a high deductible health plan(HDHP) to their group plan offer­ings and sup­ple­ment it with a group cov­er­age HRA (GCHRA), also known as an inte­grat­ed HRA.
  • Elim­i­nate Ben­e­fits that Employ­ees Don’t Use – Take a micro­scop­ic look at all the ben­e­fits you pro­vide. Do you see any that aren’t being uti­lized enough to jus­ti­fy the cost of pro­vid­ing them?  A great way to learn which of your ben­e­fits your employ­ees are and aren’t using is by send­ing out an employ­ee ben­e­fits sur­vey.  Your com­pa­ny can then invest the mon­ey from under­used ben­e­fits to some­thing that your employ­ees val­ue more.

While it may be tempt­ing to sim­ply reduce your ben­e­fits offer­ings dur­ing peri­ods of infla­tion, it doesn’t have to be that way.   Com­pre­hen­sive ben­e­fits attract bet­ter employ­ees and retain them for the long haul—meaning employ­ers ben­e­fit from a more pro­duc­tive and sat­is­fied workforce.