Why Healthcare Literacy Should Be a Top Concern for Employers (And What to Do About It)

These days, offering a group health plan for your employees is crucial for reducing turnover, keeping employees engaged, and attracting talent. But offering benefits is a huge investment for employers, making it an often stressful piece of running a business. Like any significant investment, group health plans become easier to implement when you can bring in a solid return on investment.

One major factor contributing to your ROI is the percentage of employees who actually use the benefits you offer. A chief component of whether they use their benefits relies on their ability to understand their plan. Unfortunately, people often struggle to understand their benefits—in fact, only 4-14% of adults have a basic grasp of health insurance. In the US, a whopping nine out of ten adults have difficulty using health information. Imagine the ratio of your employees who feel comfortable navigating their benefits plan and understanding the benefits available. Statistically, it reflects these numbers.

Lack of healthcare literacy is an epidemic that affects the health and wellbeing of employees. Lack of understanding leads employees to miss out on accessing and using their benefits, which has a direct correlation on their health outcomes.

For the sake of your employees’ wellbeing and for the value of your investment, it’s crucial you take steps to help improve your employees’ ability to understand, navigate, and use their health plans.

Use plain language

When communicating with your employees about their health plan, make sure you avoid healthcare jargon and confusing terms. Offer explanations for terms they might come across so they can better navigate unfamiliar language. Healthcare.gov offers an excellent glossary of terms and definitions you can share with your employees. Also, read through any documents your provider will offer your employees and familiarize yourself with them. If you find yourself having questions, chances are your employees will have those same questions.

Be proactive in helping employees find clear answers, for the easier it is for them to understand what they’re reading, the more likely they will use their benefits.

Communicate often

If you want your employees to take full advantage of their health plan, it’s important that it’s kept top of mind for them—this means making sure you’re not only communicating about benefits around open enrollment/renewal season.

Talking about benefits just once a year isn’t going to help your employees stay engaged with their health plan. Consider adding communications about their benefits in internal newsletters, employee reviews, and quarterly meetings. Keep the conversation going year-round, so health benefits always stay at the top of their mind.

Tailor your message

When talking about your benefits plan, create conversations and messages that center on the differing wants and needs of your employee population.

  • Have employees who are of the age where they may be considering starting a family? Make sure to remind them of your family planning benefits.
  • Is there an emotionally challenging situation your employees might be facing? (Say, a pandemic?) Remind them of their mental health benefits.
  • Have employees who are traveling? Don’t forget to highlight their access to your telehealth benefits.

Whatever your health plan offers, it’s crucial to understand how it addresses your employees’ needs so that you can create meaningful and engaging conversations based on specific concerns.

Get the message out

You won’t be able to overturn healthcare illiteracy overnight. Still, with a tailored, clear, and thoughtful communication year-round, you’ll be able to affect your employees’ engagement with their health benefits. And through that effort, you’ll empower them to preserve their health and wellbeing. When in doubt, talk to your benefits advisor for suggestions on how to increase healthcare literacy within your company and in turn, increase ROI on your investment.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

Time to Turnover a New Employee Retention Strategy

It’s no secret that employee turnover is expensive and time-consuming. The Work Institute’s Retention Report found that the estimated cost of turnover ranges from 33% to up to 200% (!) of the departing employee’s salary. The price only snowballs once you consider that, on average, companies lose 18% of their workforce to turnover each year.

There’s good news— the Retention Report also found that 75% of employee turnover is preventable. By understanding the impact of turnover and applying employee retention strategies, companies can prevent turnover and retain the talent necessary for promoting organizational growth.

The turnover impact

Although most people get hyper-focused on the costs, the consequences outside of costs matter most. The most substantial impact of turnover is damage to your team and company. Specifically, a company may experience:

  • Lost productivity: Colleagues pick up the leaving team member’s workload. This creates lost productivity as employees stretch themselves thin across multiple roles.
  • Depleted employee morale: When a team member departs, it can take a toll on the team. The departure may lead to frustration, resentment, and burnout. Team members may start questioning whether they, too, should be looking for a new opportunity.
  • Diminished employer brand: Companies with high turnover are quickly branded as a “revolving door.” This reputation seems unattractive to particular job seekers, and any open roles can draw in individuals not interested in a long-term position.
  • More turnover: When morale is down, and workload is high, employees become overworked, unengaged, and susceptible to burnout – leading to more turnover. 

Employee retention strategies

Most people quit their jobs due to a lack of career advancement opportunities, recognition, and compensation. Be proactive and avoid possible turnover by applying these employee retention strategies to achieve satisfied, loyal, and committed employees.

Provide opportunities to grow and develop

Helping employees achieve their professional goals shows that the company is invested in their future and gives employees a sense of purpose. On top of that, research shows that most millennials and Gen-Z workers will choose a job with lower pay if they see development opportunities. You can encourage growth and development through these activities:

  • Have quarterly one-on-one meetings to discuss an employee’s Professional Development Plan, performance, and strengths. Identify additional support or training needs. These meetings also benefit the manager because it helps them better understand what development opportunities are most beneficial.
  • Take a collaborative approach to organizational goal setting and invite your employees to participate.
  • Prioritize skill development by working with individuals to identify actual and desired skills. Think about which skills will push them to become more proficient in their jobs and find opportunities for these skills. For example, if someone needs to enhance their writing skills, encourage them to take a business writing class.
  • Encourage continuous learning by having employees attend industry events, conferences, and educational webinars.

Foster a healthy work environment

Your employees’ physical and mental well-being should be one of your top priorities. You can encourage people to set boundaries to respect their work-life balance, such as turning off notifications when the workday is over or having them use their vacation time.

Another method is offering hybrid workplaces. Currently, 74% of the US workforce are willing to quit a job to work remotely. Hybrid and remote work situations are a win-win for everyone. Employees save time and money commuting, have an improved work-life balance, and have fewer distractions. Also, employers reduce absenteeism and overhead costs and experience no geographical constraints when hiring. This means a bigger pool of talent!

Practice a feedback culture

Employees need constructive and positive feedback to improve, and they expect it. Consider giving feedback frequently and often to motivate employees.

But remember that feedback is an exchange—employees want their voice to be heard. Start by having an open-door policy and genuinely listening to concerns. Most importantly, take action on their feedback because it will dramatically improve retention, as 90% of employees say they are more likely to stay at a company that takes and acts on feedback.

When you foster a feedback culture, you show your employees you take concerns seriously. This will also make employees feel more comfortable when giving feedback because you earned their trust.

Give recognition and rewards

Employees who feel appreciated work harder and stay longer at companies, but over 80% of employees say they don’t feel recognized or rewarded.

Employers can significantly impact their employees’ retention, engagement, and loyalty by showing recognition and gratitude for their contributions and successes. Here are a few methods to consider:

  • Create a formal employee recognition program and rewards system
  • Leverage your communication platforms to allow employees to thank their peers and give shout outs
  • Write an employee recognition letter
  • Give positive feedback during meetings
  • Take your team out for dinner to show your appreciation
  • Provide gift cards or physical rewards

Hire strategically

People can develop skills and expertise, but hiring someone who mirrors company values will help you retain loyal and engaged employees who feel more comfortable contributing to the organization.

When hiring, first consider asking questions related to your company values and explain how the role correlates with those values. This will also help them better understand what is expected of them and whether they are the right cultural fit.

Offer appropriate compensation

Compensation is essential to any retention strategy. No matter how valued, content, and supported an employee may feel, they are likely to look for alternative career opportunities if they feel their current company is not adequately compensating for their work.

Start by reassessing compensation. Are you providing transparency around their pay? Are you within industry compensation standards? Do you offer well-rounded benefits?

If you think this could be a pain point for your employees, consider offering a competitive salary, raises, bonuses, awards, and better benefits. For example, you can provide health insurance, leave benefits, retirement planning, and wellness benefits.

The benefits of employee retention

With employee retention, you’ll save time and money recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires because you’ll have more long-term employees who have had the time to develop their abilities, knowledge, and expertise. They can accomplish tasks within a shorter time and are more committed to the organization’s success. The longer an employee stays, the more value they add to the organization.

More importantly, you’ll have happy employees that can exude that feeling to their clients and peers. Happiness is linked to high engagement, which leads to a better client experience, and highly engaged employees are 1.8 times more likely to say they’ll be working at their current organization a year from now.

A great team can make the difference between success and failure. Take the first step in retaining your top talent because they are the key to organizational growth and sustainability.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ilixe48

Show Some Appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day (and Beyond)

You have an awesome team that works hard and exemplifies your company values day after day and year after year. But in the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind, it can be easy to forget to show your employees the appreciation they deserve.

Employee Appreciation Day, which falls on the first Friday of every March, is an opportunity for managers, employers, leadership, and human resources to remember the importance of appreciating their employees. Studies have shown that appreciation builds trust, boosts productivity, and decreases turnover—after all, who doesn’t like to feel appreciated?

Below are some great ways to engage in the appreciation of your employees, showing them how much you care.

Touch base with your employees often

Treating your employees like items to check off on a to-do list might be easier for your productivity, but it does not make them feel appreciated. Take time to talk with your employees, whether it’s something as simple as saying “Good morning” or asking “How are you?”, writing a thank you note, talking to them in a quick Zoom call, or by setting aside some one-on-one time to check in with how projects, or life, is going. Building relationships by intentionally seeking out time to connect is a great way to make employees feel seen and appreciated.

Treat your team to fun activities

If your team is still working from home, you can host a virtual picnic, happy hour, or team lunch/dinner. You can also do a little team bonding by playing virtual online games together or doing a virtual karaoke session. 

Give meaningful feedback

Have you ever been told “great job!” without any explanation as to why you did a great job? While it may feel good, it’s not all that helpful. Telling your employees “great job!” is all well and good, but make sure to give meaningful feedback they can glean concrete information from. When talking with your employees, take time to address their professional development, what they’re doing well, and where they need to improve. Engaging in a conversation about their growth shows them you want them to succeed on a personal level.

Offer extra time off

Did your employees work extra hard and go above and beyond on a project or campaign? Reward them with a few extra days off or even a whole week off! They will appreciate the spare time to rest, recharge, and spend time with their friends and loved ones.

Create and build a culture around appreciation

Appreciation is the most impactful when it is already built in your company culture and it’s an expectation, instead of an afterthought. Consider offering opportunities for growth and advancement, like regular training courses, opportunities for mentorship, and employee recognition programs that offer perks for participation. When employees are offered opportunities to learn and grow, they will give their best selves to your company. 

Be flexible

No, we’re not telling you to be able to touch your shoulder with your foot. We mean flexible in the sense of allowing your employees to have time to take breaks whenever needed, giving them a no-meetings day, letting them log off early, or letting them choose what days they want to work during the week. Employees who are empowered to manage their own time will be more engaged and productive.

Celebrate life milestones

You don’t have to make everything all about work! Celebrate whenever significant events happen—like the birth of a child or the addition of a new furry friend, like a dog or cat. You can also celebrate the little things, like holidays, birthdays, or work anniversaries. Work can be a place of community, where everyone shares in each other’s successes.

Give thanks to your employees every day of the year

While there is a day set aside to specifically celebrate employees, don’t keep silent the remaining 364 days of the year. Your team is there every day for you, working hard and supporting you and your company goals and values. Show them just how much you appreciate them, and in return, you will have a well-rounded company and a coveted culture.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes







The Power of “I Don’t Know”

When we’re kids, asking questions comes naturally to us. Anyone who’s ever met a toddler would recognize the endless “Why, why, why” anywhere. But somewhere along the way, many of us begin to censor our questions. The reasons change for us as we grow:

  • We become afraid.
  • We don’t want to look stupid in front of our friends.
  • We don’t want to appear like we don’t know how to do our jobs.
  • We’re don’t want to look incompetent.

This is a habit that builds up slowly over time. It’s related directly to insecurity, which can be challenging to face. And for those of us who have a hard time admitting to others that we don’t know, it can be hard to admit to ourselves when we’re avoiding the truth.

Holding back hurts more than it helps

When we hold in the fact that we don’t know, we do things like nod along when we’re really lost in meetings. Or we say we’re fine to start on a project before we have all the information we need. These reactions will eventually compound on themselves, making it even more difficult to do our jobs. Think about it:

  1. You say you understand a request before you do.
  2. You start working on it with only a partial understanding of the desired outcome.
  3. You flounder, spend way too much time trying to come up with a result that makes sense.
  4. You eventually hand it back to your team only to have it handed back to you, and the whole process starts over again.

The desire to react in a way that shows your competence is extremely human and very normal. However, when we allow this reaction to begin working its way into how we navigate our jobs, it has the exact opposite effect we want it to have.

When we are too afraid to ask questions, we limit ourselves to the tools we already have. We remove any possibility of gaining more understanding, cutting ourselves off from learning and development, stagnating our growth.

You’ve got the power

Saying “I don’t know” does not make you weak. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Learning to say “I don’t know” actually gives you power!

  • It provides an opportunity for you to develop relationships with your colleagues, creating space for collaboration and connection.
  • It empowers your teammates to ask the questions they might be holding back.
  • It encourages deeper critical thinking and more intentional decision-making.
  • It challenges your team to fill in the gaps, define foggy reasoning, and find more effective solutions.
  • It gives you a chance to learn and grow.

If you find yourself constantly reaching for an answer, even when there isn’t one, then you may want to evaluate your motives. Are you trying to position yourself as a leader? Are you attempting to look competent and knowledgeable? Are you worried your job will be in jeopardy if you reveal you don’t have the answer to something?

If any of these ring true, then consider two things:

  • Are you in a toxic workplace that discourages people from asking for help? Will your job really be affected if you ask questions? Are your colleagues going to stop trusting you if you say you don’t know something? If so, it’s time to find a better, healthier workplace.
  • If the above doesn’t seem right, it may be time to have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself why you’re motivated to fill in the blank when you don’t have a real answer. Dig into what’s driving you. Find out what you’re afraid of and face it.

No such thing as a foolish question

Next time you feel yourself searching for an answer that isn’t there, or suppressing a question that’s arising, take a moment to pause and consider. Is your question foolish? Probably not. Try taking a risk and asking, then pay attention to what happens afterward.

Did the sky fall? Did you lose your job? Or did your team member light up and give a great answer that started a lively discussion? Did you get what you needed?

Do you feel more empowered now that you have an answer?

You deserve to feel secure in your knowledge and in what you bring to the table. Each of us comes with our strengths, and you have yours. Asking questions is a part of life, and it doesn’t detract from who we are or how capable we are of getting the job done. It does the opposite. It’s a part of growth. And it’s a crucial part of allowing yourself to be human, happy, and successful.


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