21 Aug Bringing personal services to work
Do you offer onsite employee benefits? In this article from SHRM, Sammer shows what options are out there for employers.
Onsite employee benefits that go beyond big-ticket items like health clinics, gyms and child care centers are now within the reach of many employers.
When Cassandra Lammers, vice president of total rewards at Audible Inc., a publisher of audio books in Newark, N.J., wanted to encourage employees to schedule regular dental visits, she focused on the large percentage of the firm’s employees who are part of the Millennial generation. These younger workers tended not to use their dental benefits, claims records showed.
To address the situation, Lammers began researching mobile dental services, looking for a vendor that would provide dental care onsite during the workday. That was not as easy as it sounded. “Most of these services are designed to help the elderly and the disabled who are not able to get to a dentist’s office,” she noted.
See also: The Most Desirable Employee Benefits
After many months of looking, Lammers connected with Henry the Dentist, a mobile dental office that parks its trailer at an employer’s location for a few days to provide onsite dental services. The trailer offers state-of-the-art dental services and can serve three patients at a time.
The biggest selling points for Audible were the convenience for employees and the fact that all of the dentists were in-network providers for the company’s dental plan, so audible does not have to pay for the service.
“We now schedule a few days each quarter to help employees get into a normal cycle for dental visits,” Lammers said. The initial visit was scheduled to last only two or three days. However, employee demand for appointments was so great that the visit lasted six full days to serve 189 employees. Lammers expects to schedule five days per quarter going forward.
“The feedback from employees has been fantastic, and they love the convenience,” she said.
Alexandria Ketcheson, marketing and brand director at Henry, said that under the company’s current employment model “all our dentists are full-time employees of Henry,” and that “a large part of our promise to our corporate clients is that their employees will see the same medical staff during every visit.”
Onsite benefit programs should be designed to save employees time and to make their lives easier. Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line offers a range of onsite benefits to accomplish just that, including dry cleaning, a coffee shop and deliveries from a flower vendor every Friday so that employees can buy fresh flowers for the weekend.
See also: The Changing Landscape of Employee Benefits
“This is all part of our effort to be an employer of choice,” said Tami Blanco, the company’s vice president of shoreside human resources. “We focus on providing services that employees use or need regularly. Employees want to spend their time off with family, not running errands.”
One of the more popular onsite benefits is access to Neighborhood Fuel, a service that comes to Carnival Cruise employees in South Florida and fills up their gas tanks in the parking lot while they are working.
By using a smartphone app, employees can request a fill-up, leaving the gas cap door ajar on their cars. Once the fuel truck completes the fill-up, the app sends an alert with the total cost of the gas.
So far, half of Carnival Cruise’s Miami-based employees have signed up to use the service, and 75 percent of those employees say it is of great value to them, Blanco said.
When an employer offers any onsite benefit to employees, it comes with an implicit endorsement of the vendor’s services, so it’s important for employers to proceed with caution when choosing those vendors.
Carnival Cruise Line, for example, often offers new services to one group of employees as a pilot project to see if it is something the company wants to offer to all employees.
See also: How millennials are shaping employee benefits
Before offering onsite dental care, Lammers not only read the reviews of the dental providers working for Henry the Dentist but also asked pointed questions about how the service ensures the safety of employees while they are walking to and from the mobile facility and while they are inside receiving treatment. “We also wanted to understand how they operate [and] how they interface with employees, ensure confidentiality, et cetera,” said Lammers, who inspected the mobile dental facility personally.
Once employees begin using any onsite service, employers should check in periodically to make sure employees are happy with the service and comfortable using it. For example, if employees feel a vendor is putting pressure on them to buy more or to upgrade, that’s something an employer may want to address directly with the vendor so that employees don’t feel pressured.
SOURCE: Sammer, J (5 July 2018) “Bringing personal services to work” (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/bringing-personal-services-to-work.aspx