Five Ways to Focus on Employee Health and Wellness as Hiring Surges

Five Ways to Focus on Employee Health and Wellness as Hiring Surges

By Tricia O'Connor

Gone are the days of people working themselves to death and prioritizing their careers over their safety and overall health.

The impact of COVID-19 brought feelings of despair, loss, and disruption to many people, but it also brought a drastic change in what employees find essential — their health and wellbeing.

When America’s workforce moved to remote operations, employees had more time to focus on the importance of work-life balance. And they, along with millions of job seekers, are not willing to settle into old habits.

Businesses must respond to these changing needs to attract top talent. Here are five ways to focus on health and wellness as hiring surges.

How It All Began

Businesses are realizing the pandemic changed employees’ minds, and they no longer want to work for companies that do not prioritize their physical health and safety. So, many employees are seeking jobs with more flexibility. However, this directly contrasts what employers are focused on as the world comes out of the pandemic. This gap is being deemed “the turnover tsunami.”

According to the Workforce Institute 2021 Engagement and Retention report, more than half of the country’s workforce is looking for a new job in 2021 because of discrepancies between employees wanting more flexibility and employers wanting to bring staff back to the office full time. This surge in hiring needs has become a stressful and costly process for employers as they determine how to recruit, train, and retain new talent to fill hundreds of open positions.

How It’s Going

To find success in a post-pandemic workplace, businesses must create an atmosphere that makes current employees and prospective new hires feel valued, safe, and happy. This type of healthy work environment promotes a positive culture and keeps health insurance costs down. The most streamlined way to do this is by incorporating health and safety protocols into daily business operations.

While this may seem like a daunting task, the process can be made more efficient by implementing tech solutions that help assess conditions on the worksite, identify gaps, and provide updated health and safety protocols. Utilizing robust software gives companies the ability to capture health data and actionable insights to address internally. Using these tactics helps employers focus on the health and safety of their team members while ensuring the continuity of daily operations.

This shift in priorities also promotes the value of a company’s brand, making it more attractive to job seekers. There are certain ways businesses can incorporate better health and safety protocols to ease current employees’ minds and new talent.

  • 1. COVID-19 and Antibody Testing

In early June, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance confirming employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the workplace. Almost immediately, unvaccinated employees with no intention to receive the shot filed large lawsuits against their employers. A less risky and, some might argue, equally viable alternative is to supply employees with COVID-19 testing kits and/or antibody tests. An oral-fluid molecular COVID-19 test can confirm if the coronavirus is detected in a person’s saliva. An antibody test shows if a person has been infected and recovered. It’s important to note, however, it is illegal for employers to require an antibody test before allowing employees to report back to the workplace.

  • 2. Environmental, Social, and Corporate (ESG) Governance Factors

Promoting a healthy and safe work environment includes tracking updates related to the environment and its effect on people. Being aware of environmental and health issues that affect your business and employees is the best way to combat any potential environmental risks in the future. This is critical for employers looking to open new offices. Using the right technology platforms can keep a business updated on environmental factors affecting office space locations and reporting on potential health risks in the area. Tracking environmental factors in real-time also helps keep insurance costs down and business operations running.

  • 3. Remote Drug Testing

Instant or rapid drug tests help employers hire quickly, safely and improve their candidate experience. An instant saliva test provides accurate results in minutes at the point of collection and is more private and convenient for applicants or employees. Oral fluid testing can be done instantly through video observation, making it ideal for remote positions. Remote drug testing also saves employers money because there is no need for applicants to use a clinic to conduct the collection. Eliminating a clinic cost can save employers $20-$25 per collection.

  • 4. Health Screenings

Conduct daily health screenings for employees before they enter the workplace by answering questions regarding potential COVID-19 exposure and symptoms. They can fill out the questionnaire off-site in less than a minute using any device. This significantly reduces the possibility of a viral spread within the workplace, which would result in increased health insurance costs and a disruption in business operations.

  • 5. Pre-employment Background Screening

The more people who are unemployed, the bigger the numbers of job candidates applying for open positions. With a bigger field to choose from, it’s an opportunity to hit a home run by hiring the right person for the right role. However, when hiring in this unbalanced labor market it’s important to review your screening program and policy, especially if you’re continuing with remote hiring or expanding into hybrid positions. You won’t have the same day-to-day, in-person touchpoints with these employees, so a thorough pre-employment background check conducted by an accredited screening firm is a reliable way to ensure the employee is safe to bring into the fold. Most screening companies can also customize packages tailored to hybrid or remote workforces so businesses get the precise background checks they need.

Smarter and Safer Workforces

As we move into the next phase of pandemic economic recovery, it is employers’ responsibility to make the necessary updates to internal operations in response to the changing needs of today’s workforce. Prioritizing a healthy and safe workplace is crucial for businesses to retain employees, recruit new talent, and continue building a positive reputation for their brands.

Known for our exceptional client service, seamless integrations, and the best migration team in the business, EBI is the screening industry’s most-awarded background screening company. We understand your business faces unique challenges and we partner with you to create solutions that suit your needs. EBI is the only Consumer Reporting Agency (background screener) that offers a Transition Framework and dedicated Transition Management Team to help enterprise clients realize maximum efficiency during migration and beyond. The result is smarter and safer background checks to optimize your business and keep your people safe.

Get to know more about EBI  – schedule a demo with us today.

*A version of this article originally appeared in Property Casualty 360, an insurance industry thought leadership blog.

HR & Recruiting

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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