A Review of the 2014 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey
I’d like to share a few of the key findings in the 2014 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey. There is a lot of great content this year that is worth reviewing – if you have time. This entry will focus on four main issues that I found to be most relevant.
It’s worth repeating some of the opening comments from Jon Fairest, President and CEO of Sanofi who says:
“Half the workforce in Canada has at least one chronic disease and although it can certainly be a challenge to integrate health and wellness into a business strategy, it’s becoming clear that this approach makes sense not only from an employee engagement point of view, but also as a competitive advantage. By putting health first, collectively, we can finally bring the full value of health benefits to fruition.”
Wow. Jon and I really agree on this statement!
Health Risk Screenings
It is fascinating to note that employee interest in health risk screenings is significant but few employers are willing to pay for it. It makes sense that people will act when it is connected to something of personal value…hence the rationale behind personal health screening. However, it seems that employers are not seeing the value of screening as the right investment or the right initial investment into wellness.
Why do we need to bring screenings on site? Should we not be encouraging our employees to build better and more proactive relationships with their health practitioners? Also, as mentioned in the report and begs the question, why are we not asking our employees what they are interested in? Not that we can deliver on it all but we should address the level of employee interest for various benefits and wellness offerings.
Wellness Program Awareness
The survey showed that employers would like to see insurance carriers take a larger role in the support of their wellness programs. Employers want help in finding ways to integrate a proper wellness program into their benefits offering. That makes sense, but this issue may be one of communication as carriers seem to have a wide range of wellness services available. Employers are not necessarily aware of them.
In my opinion, we should be asking consultants and brokers to become more proactive in making their clients aware of what wellness services are available across the entire marketplace – even beyond what insurance carriers can provide. In fact, we should be simplifying the strategic process so that employers can avoid getting bogged down in too much information and possible bias. At some point, you need to take action and start from somewhere. The consultant is in a key position to lead this.
It appears from the survey that most employers are not doing a great job of measuring absenteeism and 60% of employers do not have a formal process to manage absence. If we are not measuring, or managing absence, we are potentially ignoring an area that can represent a significant cost for many companies.
While the data for days absent in Canada varies by industry or sector, on average, employees take just over nine days per year. So it makes sense that we use this measurement to assess the general health of employees. More importantly, we want to see how wellness programs can affect this number over time.
Measuring the effects of our benefit plans
Finally, the survey concludes to say that employees will have better appreciation for their benefits when the design of the plan is aligned with the philosophy, values, and objectives of the plan itself. Organizations need to be clear with what they want benefits to achieve. Employers said that their main purpose for benefits was:
1. Peace of Mind
3. Keep Employees Healthy and Productive
We are unfortunately failing at measuring our effects on keeping employees healthy and productive. Measurement is certainly a challenge for many employers but we all need to work on this. Perhaps it starts with looking at how chronic disease is affecting us? The data is worth paying attention to, and once understood, organizations can build strategies to support the treatment and prevention of chronic disease.
I encourage your to download the full 2014 survey at www.sanofi.ca and look forward to your thoughts and comments.