New Voya research shares insights from retirement plan decision-makers on challenges facing the health care industry following two years of COVID-19
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), in collaboration with the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA), recently conducted its bi-yearly survey of retirement plan management in the health care sector. Based on the results of the research, Voya is releasing new findings detailing the overall organizational challenges facing the health care industry today and the impact COVID-19 has had on the evolving benefit needs of health care workers as a result.
“Many organizations, but particularly those in health care, have experienced great organizational challenges given the impacts of the pandemic,” said Brodie Wood, vice president and national practice leader for Voya’s Health Care Market. “As a result, these organizations now face even more unique challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. In turn, they have needed to find new opportunities to approach their benefits offerings to be able to support their employees.”
Administered by Greenwald Research, the study consisted of two phases:
- An online survey among retirement plan decision-makers at more than 200 health care organizations.
- Follow-up, in-depth interviews among a select group of these decision-makers.
The research found a significant amount of health care organizations believe it is now “much more” or “somewhat more” important to attract and retain high-quality medical staff (83%) and support staff (82%). As a result, the value placed on benefits, including an employer-sponsored retirement plan, have become critical keys to success in maintaining and attracting high-quality employees.
Specifically, the findings and key areas of importance include:
- Addressing mental health and burnout – Mental health issues have increased in health care organizations due to the amplified workloads, lack of staff resources and the overall impact of COVID-19 on family and non-work-related areas of their lives. As a result, 83% of retirement plan decision-makers noted that managing employee stress and burnout levels are becoming an important need — with 81% saying it’s also important to address the mental health issues to better support their employees. The good news is that, in response, nearly half (48%) of organizations have already added new mental-health and employee-support services, but nearly all (88%) agree more can be done to address the mental-health issues, stress and burnout of employees; as a result, about half expanded traditional and non-traditional benefits (45%) and increased work flexibility (54%).
- Helping employees make better benefits decisions – An overwhelming number (93%) of health care retirement plan decision-makers agree more can be done to help employees optimize their benefit dollars across health and wealth benefits like retirement savings, health savings accounts (HSAs), health care insurance, voluntary benefit options and emergency savings. What’s more, a significant amount (86%) also agreed that employees are interested in more support and information to help transition into retirement, including understanding Social Security benefits, health care costs, etc.
- Optimizing employer sponsored retirement and benefits plans – Ninety percent of decision-makers from health care organizations agreed employee benefits programs overall help to attract and retain high-quality employees, with 88% agreeing their organization’s defined contribution retirement plan specifically helps attract and retain high-quality employees. As a result, since January 2021, 39% of health care organizations have begun offering or already enhanced their match to their employees’ retirement plan contributions. But more organizations have focused on implementing a balanced approach to their overall health and wealth benefits offerings, including making work hours more flexible (54%), increasing salaries at a higher rate (52%) and expanding traditional and non-traditional benefits (45%).
Wellness programs growing in importance to employees
“In the wake of the ‘Great Resignation,’ an unprecedented churn in the U.S. labor market where employees resigned from their jobs in great numbers, it’s clear that the health care industry in particular is making efforts to understand and address the challenges that its workers face,” added Wood. “And while retirement plans are important, it appears wellness programs are also now playing a key role.”
Findings from Voya’s survey also revealed that health care organizations continue to measure the success of their retirement plan based on three key criteria: improving overall financial wellness; participation rate; and retirement readiness. While the majority of organizations are confident that their retirement plan will help employees achieve their retirement goals and save enough to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, improving overall wellness is now a top measure of success.
“An employer’s ability to offer wellness programs outside the retirement plan is growing in importance to employees, particularly as more employees today seek those unique benefits to help them with their entire savings needs,” added Wood. “We also found that nearly half (42%) of organizations that currently offer a financial wellness programs prefer to offer similar programs or capabilities outside the retirement plan, but the challenges organizations face in getting employees to engage with these programs and offerings still remains to be a hurdle for many.”
Employers need help finding solutions
“Retirement plan advisors and consultants continue to play an important role for many health care organizations, with more than half (56%) reporting that the level of service they receive has increased in recent years,” added Wood. “These past two years — more than ever before — have asked retirement plan advisors to play a wide variety of roles, and some of the top services noted included plan design recommendations and acting as support with fiduciary responsibilities. As the industry continues to evolve with changing legislation and ongoing trends, these individuals will continue to be critical to the success of organizations when it comes to helping them provide valuable benefits for all individuals.”
The findings from Voya’s study were recently presented by Wood and Matt Greenwald, founder at Greenwald Research, at the ASHHRA22 Annual Conference and Exposition. This year’s event, held in Phoenix, brought together health care human resources (HR) professionals across the continuum of care, delivering dynamic keynote speakers, innovative breakout sessions, engaging networking activities and a variety of opportunities for health care HR professionals to connect.
With a number of products, solutions and technologies that help employers and employees address their health and wealth needs, Voya continues to focus on providing solutions to enable actions that will make a difference in employees’ lives and in achieving positive outcomes within their health and wealth benefits. This includes the recently launched myHealth&Wealth holistic benefits selection experience that offers personalized digital guidance to help employees optimize their household spending across health insurance benefits, emergency savings and saving for retirement.
Voya is uniquely positioned in the market to serve retirement plans of all sizes and across all sectors, including health care organizations, including hospitals, medical centers, physician groups and other health and wellness organizations. Voya’s average tenure for a health care client is 29 years,1 and its Tax-Exempt Markets segment supports over 4,500 health care organizations with their retirement planning needs.2 To learn more, visit https://www.voya.com/employers/tax-exempt/healthcare.
As an industry leader focused on the delivery of health, wealth and investment solutions to and through the workplace, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its mission to make a secure financial future possible for all Americans — one person, one family, one institution at a time.
All data unless noted otherwise based on the results of Voya’s study of retirement plan management in the health care sector conducted by Greenwald Research. The study consisted of two phases both with retirement plan decision-makers at health care organizations including: an online survey conducted Feb. 4, 2022–March 8, 2022, among 214 retirement plan decision-makers from health care organizations that offer a defined contribution retirement plan, along with in-depth interviews among a select group of decision-makers conducted March 2022.
1. & 2. Voya internal data, as of Dec. 31, 2021.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), is a leading health, wealth and investment company that provides products, solutions and technologies that help Americans become well planned, well invested and well protected. Serving the needs of 14.3 million individual, workplace and institutional clients, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $4.2 billion in revenue in 2021 and $739 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Dec. 31, 2021. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is purpose-driven and is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has earned recognition as: one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; a member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.
The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) is the nation’s only membership organization dedicated to meeting the needs of human resources professionals in health care.
Founded in 1964, ASHHRA leads the way for members to become more effective, valued and credible leaders in health care human resources with more than 2,000 members nationwide. As the foremost resource for health care human resources, ASHHRA provides timely and critical support through research, learning and knowledge sharing, professional development, products and resources, and opportunities for networking and collaboration. ASHHRA offers the only certification distinguishing health care human resources professionals, the Certified in Healthcare Human Resources (CHHR).
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