Why staff work-life balance is a win for employers

Investing in what employees do in their downtime can make them more engaged and productive at work

Why staff work-life balance is a win for employers
It goes without saying that your benefits plan aids your employees’ work-life balance, but an industry insider says giving workers flexibility in which benefits they use will bring payoffs for employers, too.

Few know more about maximizing benefits than Brigitte Parent, who recently joined Rise People’s advisory board after more than a decade at Sun Life, most recently as senior vice president of group benefits.

She spoke to HRD about how employers can help their staff achieve work-life balance, and why it’s in their business’ best interests.

“Study after study has shown that greater balance will lead to greater satisfaction, will lead to greater engagement, will lead to greater productivity. To me, benefits programs are there to also support all of that,” Parent says.

“They’re there to help employees create more balance between their financial, their mental and their physical health, which gets them to a higher level of satisfaction. Employers do benefit from offering benefit programs that are supporting the health of their employees.”

She applauds organizations that have introduced their own health and wellness programs to incentive staying active and reducing stress, and which ensure their staff can access health information digitally.

“All of this, in my mind, leads to greater satisfaction from employees and greater satisfaction gets to better engagement, and better engagement leads to better productivity, so it’s a win-win.”

She says there are three main areas where employers are taking novel approaches to work-life balance:

Flexibility in benefits plan design: “It’s important to realize that not every employee across generations is looking for the same thing, so bringing flexibility has been very important: things like health spending accounts, personal savings accounts, things like voluntary benefits, access to digital experience where people can access health information really [shows] the value of plan designs and benefits.”

Preventative benefits: “The introduction of fitness challenges, nutrition education, mindfulness programs, all of things allow employers to customize plans to be much more personal to the employee’s needs. “

A greater focus on the overall employee experience: “It’s important to create – and what I’ve seen done well is – this all-in-one experience where it’s simple and it’s easy for employees, not only to access their benefits and leverage the power of their benefits, but also everything from the time they’re recruited to managing their vacations online and their attendance and all of that. Making it very, very seamless for the employee and easy is pretty important.”

Related stories:
Benefits for every age
Here's what the future of benefits looks like

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