Trends in Consumer, Financial, Physical Health HR Leaders Need to Know About

This post is sponsored by HSA Bank, empowering employees and employers to make the most of their healthcare dollars. See our FTC disclosure at the end. 

As our world has shifted this year due to a pandemic, so must our mindset on how we support and engage our workforce. They need benefits and total rewards packages that work differently because we are all working differently. It’s especially important to ensure that your employees have access to information and resources that relate to health and wellness and help reduce stress.


How HR Can Support Employees with Financial, Physical and Health Resources


It’s the end of the year and as HR leaders we are knee-deep in planning mode combined, for most of us, with annual enrollment time. It is our responsibility to educate, inform, and help employees access information so they can make more knowledgeable life and personal decisions. The 2020 HSA Bank Health & Wealth Index surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults about health plan enrollment status, health practices, ability to pay for healthcare, and health and wealth confidence. Here, I’ve identified three key areas to consider as we get close to the end of the year (and as we’re in annual open enrollment). 


Employees don’t understand health plans or coverage information


The HSA Bank report found that 42% of respondents didn’t know if their healthcare plan was HSA-eligible. Just 25% said they knew their out-of-pocket maximum, and only 37% knew their annual deductible. And while Gen Z is highly engaged with health and wealth, only 9% of Generation Z consumers knew their out-of-pocket maximum.

What this means for HR leaders is that we need to focus on online resources, education, and support to help our employees access and understand this information. This impacts our workforce from a retention standpoint, but also so employees can plan ahead for emergency costs for various healthcare needs. Decision support tools, such as online calculators, can help employees decide what health plan and healthcare savings program will best enable them to plan and save.  


Preventative services are the key to lowering employer and employee health plan coverage expenses


In the HSA Bank report, just 15% of consumers said they save money specifically for future healthcare expenses, yet 52% of consumers said they frequently or occasionally worry about current or future medical bills. With stress levels at an all-time high due to a global health crisis and so many Americans struggling, there must be a focus on preventative physical and emotional healthcare. 

HR leaders can identify key partners across the company ecosystem to lead healthy workgroups or challenges, as well as train team leaders and managers to hold regular employee meetings to check in on things like work-life balance and stress levels. HR can also send mini “pulse” surveys to all employees to help identify what health and wellness informational sessions might be useful and how employees are feeling overall about their benefits. 


Financial planning and training are perks that employers need to invest in


Money is our biggest stressor in life and healthcare can be one of the greatest unexpected expenses we have. Employees bring these stresses to the office and their workplaces, which is why HR should not just focus on mental health and well-being, but also providing new perks and benefits to help with financial planning. This could be information on how to improve credit, budgeting basics, or a breakdown of how health care savings plans and savings accounts work. 

One of my favorite resources is a book called I Can Make You Rich. The resources contained within it focus on building wealth and lowering expenses over time. These are the same resources and perks we can provide to our employees. 


Employee Benefits Resources Are Part of the Employee Experience


If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s to expect the unexpected. Part of our scenario planning should be expanding the resources we provide to our employees, whether working remotely or in-office, and providing ongoing education about employee benefits throughout the year. 

*A special thank you to this article’s sponsor, HSA Bank. 

 FTC Disclosure: Xceptional HR Consulting received compensation for mentioning the product listed above as part of one of the services offered to clients and readers. We only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readership. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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