Creating a Happier and Healthier Workforce

The beginning of a new year provides many with a fresh start and an opportunity for change. Whether big or small, I am sure you or someone you know has the resolution to build a new habit or accomplish a goal in 2023. As an employer, the start of this year is a great time to look at what you can be doing to better support and encourage your employees in building happier and healthier lifestyles.  

Throughout my career with Acadia Benefits, I have had the privilege to work with amazing companies of all types and sizes throughout Maine and New England. While each customer is unique, one of the common issues we see with our large group customers (over 50 employees) is high-cost medical claim amounts, including many in the $200k to $500k range. Sometimes, the reason for these large claims is unavoidable and is the unfortunate cards that these individuals have been dealt. But in some cases, these high-cost claims are a result of an employee’s lifestyle choices, compounded over time. And these choices are something that you, as an employer, may have influence over.

When we work with a customer who is faced with the challenge of rising medical insurance costs due to a high-cost claim, we implement a plan that promotes a culture of well-being within their business. Smart and healthy decisions that improve your employees’ quality of life over an extended period of time have the potential to make a tremendous impact. By taking a strategic approach, we can impact the habits of our workforce today, to change behaviors that will hopefully create healthier employees, ultimately preventing high-cost claims in the future. 

When thinking about the upcoming year, here are a few things you can do right now to start building a happier and healthier workforce. 

  • Utilize the current resources your insurance carrier provides.
    • Most carriers provide value-added wellness programs, at little or no cost.
    • Make sure you are taking advantage of all available benefits, not just using your benefits when they are needed. 
  • Add traditional and non-traditional employee benefit programs for the employee and their dependents.
    • Adding benefits will show your employees that you as an employer are not only interested in how they perform on the job, but also invested in them as humans outside of the workplace. 
  • Educate employees on mental health, financial support, and employee assistance programs available to themselves and their families.
    • Some employees may not feel comfortable reaching out to employers for help.
    • Providing your employees with additional resources to handle life’s challenges is essential to maintaining a happy and healthy workplace.
  • Check with your benefits broker to see if you have an employee advocate that can step in and resolve any insurance issue on behalf of your employees and their family members.
    • Our Employee Advocate, Sara Closson, is an invaluable resource to our customers, their employees, and family members. She is available to assist and help with any insurance-related issues, in a timely and confidential manner. 
  • Encourage your employees to become healthier through simple incentive-based wellness programs.
    • Many times your medical insurance company can provide wellness resources and provide an opportunity to manage programs internally.
    • Acadia Benefits also provides our customers with wellness recommendations to fit the needs, culture, and budget, of your business.
  • Step back from the daily grind and hold a stress-free team bonding event.
    • It is important to get to know each of your employees outside of work.
    • Schedule something fun! It can be a 15-minute walk at lunchtime, a tennis match after work, or a get-together with family members. 

While there is no magic bullet or quick fix for creating a healthier workforce, I have seen success with many of our customers implementing health and wellness initiatives in their businesses. I am happy to share additional information and suggestions about how to support your employees so you have a happier and healthier workforce. Wishing you a great start to the new year and may you be successful in all you are hoping to achieve in 2023!  



Kevin Kennedy