The ‘benefit’ of workplace cultures that respect employees
Our country’s national spotlight on the Affordable Care Act has everyone talking about the importance of healthcare benefits. While some companies are steering their hourly workers to the Health Insurance Marketplace and dropping their lowest cost health plans, others are continuing to offer a variety of healthcare options including the so-called mini-med plans which have no deductible and only a modest co-payment for physician visits and prescription drugs.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “In July 2013, the Obama administration may have inadvertently opened a window for some companies to drop coverage by imposing a yearlong delay on penalties for employers that don't offer health insurance.” Many big employers with large hourly workforces are now directing their workers to the Health Insurance Marketplace. This includes some of the largest contract security officer companies. Other companies, however, have taken the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to employee engagement by ensuring that benefits, compensation, respect and gratitude are a part of the company’s core values.
While it is clearly not the most cost efficient model for companies to offer a variety of healthcare coverage to employees, companies that truly respect and honor their workforce recognize that it is simply the right thing to do. An organization’s commitment to offering employee benefits is often a reflection of how they treat and value their employees. When employees believe their employer cares for their well-being, they become more invested and engaged in their work, leading to greater morale and productivity, and better customer service. In addition to offering comprehensive training and development opportunities, ensuring that employees and their families have access to affordable healthcare is critically important.
Our company recently completed a comprehensive survey to help understand what was most important to security professionals. While training, industry knowledge and responsiveness were all deemed important, what mattered most was the attitude of the security officer. The highest ranking attribute in security officers was the demonstration of an outstanding attitude with dedicated commitment and initiative.
We believe that providing our employees a choice of healthcare benefits, along with training and development opportunities, helps ensure that the attitude and initiative of our 60,000-strong workforce remains positive and engaged. While some hourly workers may be able to find affordable healthcare options on their own, this may not be the case for everyone. A well-designed employee benefits package can help drive employee engagement and increase staff retention.
- Bill Whitmore is Chairman & CEO of AlliedBarton Security Services, www.alliedbarton.com, a provider of trained security personnel to many industries including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare, residential communities, chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions, and shopping centers.