Enhancing Employee Benefits Programs Through Preventive Healthcare – A Focus on Vaccines

If there are ways to prevent or reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms and complications arising from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs), can we have access to them? Should we take these preventive measures? What should we be aware of? How much of the information regarding vaccines can we trust? These were among the questions pondered by the speakers and attendees at the inaugural closed-door roundtable of the Lockton Conversations series, an initiative that brings senior stakeholders and decision-makers together for meaningful dialogue and sharing of best practices to improve their businesses. Titled “Taking A Shot At Prevention”, Lockton hosted 10 senior HR leaders for an afternoon of knowledge sharing and open discussions around vaccinations.

Preventive healthcare is easily overlooked and underappreciated, exacerbated by the difficulty in measuring its value or return on investment (ROI), especially at the corporate level. Long tenures are a prerequisite for accurate ROI measurement, but rising attrition rates across numerous geographies and industries complicate the task. Employee health and business outcomes are also multifaceted metrics affected by myriad factors including individual lifestyle choices, macroeconomic conditions, and other uncontrollable variables.

Despite these challenges, a thoughtfully crafted preventive healthcare strategy is likely to bring substantial returns to companies. Specifically for vaccines, we expect to observe positive effects on three interrelated areas of concern:

1. Health

In addition to the direct benefit of preventing and reducing the incidence and severity of diseases in vaccinated individuals, vaccines also provide the often-overlooked indirect benefit of preventing other diseases arising from the original infection. Furthermore, by reducing or eliminating transmission, vaccines can prevent or reduce illnesses and the need for care among unvaccinated individuals.

2. Productivity

By improving health outcomes among employees, vaccines directly combat absenteeism arising from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) by reducing time spent recuperating and away from work. Vaccines also tackle presenteeism, where employees struggle with the symptoms of VPDs and are unable to perform effectively at work.

3. Engagement

Studies have shown that employees who feel that their company cares for them tend to be more engaged at work. Given the high attrition rates, rising costs of doing business, and various other workplace challenges, companies might feel pressured to cut costs, particularly in their employee benefits budget. Companies which go beyond legislative requirements (such as providing vaccination benefits) to support employees in achieving and maintaining good health are likelier to be successful in demonstrating care for employees.

When employees are healthy, productive, and engaged at work, businesses thrive. In one study (opens a new window), companies that received awards for their health, culture, and well-being initiatives recorded a 115% growth in earnings per share (EPS), an incredible advantage compared to their competitors who managed just 27%. In other research (opens a new window), companies that outperformed their competitors financially had 88% of their employees indicating that they felt heard, while only 62% responded positively in underperforming companies.

Of course, vaccinations are just one of many approaches that companies can take to improve employee health, productivity, and engagement. While it is not a magic bullet, there is evidence to suggest that the benefits far outweigh the costs at the individual, corporate, and even national levels. The Government of Singapore, having recognized the importance of vaccinations, established the National Adult Immunization Schedule (NAIS) in 2017 to provide guidance on vaccinations that individuals aged 18 years or older should adopt to protect themselves against VPDs, to complement the then-existing National Child Immunization Schedule (NCIS). Companies grappling with declining employee health, productivity, and engagement would likely benefit from implementing preventive healthcare strategies, such as organizing onsite health screening and vaccination drives, and setting aside a budget to reimburse vaccination expenses incurred by employees.

Creating and executing a holistic employee benefits strategy is challenging but rewarding. Contact us if you wish to incorporate vaccinations and other preventive healthcare measures into your employee benefits program, or improve employee health, productivity, and engagement.

About Lockton Conversations

Lockton Conversations is a dynamic series that fosters engaging dialogue and facilitates the exchange of best practices among senior stakeholders and decision-makers. Our aim is to empower businesses and drive improvement through insightful discussions.

Stay tuned for more thought-provoking sessions and valuable insights as we continue to bring you the latest in Lockton Conversations.