Improving Your Employees’ Health Literacy
As an employer, working to improve health communication can reduce health care costs and increase quality of healthcare for employees. Listed below are ways employers can help employees improve their health literacy, whether your workforce has returned to the office or if they are still working remotely:
- Provide Quality and Detailed Explanations of Benefits: Provide resources that fully explain in detail what copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket limits are so employees can better understand how they could get billed for unexpected costs. Remember that all employees learn in different ways, so offer explanations in different ways, like printed documents, infographics, videos, PowerPoints, etc.
- Break Down the Medical Jargon: Medical information can be complicated and packed with confusing jargon, so make an effort to share easy to understand information from reputable sources. The Benefits Guide recommends using resources from Medline.
- Offer Multiple Translations: If you have employees who speak different languages, be sure to offer translations of medical information so you can make sure they are fully understanding everything. Many websites already offer information in both Spanish and English, and many other languages can be found or translated to as well.
- Include Picture-Based Information: This will help employees who may have lower literacy skills or just a preference for visual learning. The Benefits Guide cites the World Health Organization and Medium for having great infographics and image-heavy health tips to choose from.
- Schedule Seminars, Webinars or “Lunch and Learns”: These kind events can easily be done virtually, which can help you reach more of your employees. Have an HR representative talk about the benefits your organization offers and explain common health terminology. You may even be able to have local doctors or public health employees speak about specific health topics. Health Designs has a variety of workshops and webinars available to employers nationwide, contact us for more information!
- Schedule Seminars, Webinars or “Lunch and Learns”: These kind events can easily be done virtually, which can help you reach more of your employees. Have an HR representative talk about the benefits your organization offers and explain common health terminology. You may even be able to have local doctors or public health employees speak about specific health topics. Also, remember to encourage questions and allow plenty of time the Q&A.
- Give Quality Tools. For those that like to do their own research, make sure you provide quality tools for them to use, such as an online healthcare glossary, digital pamphlets, brochures, and other easily accessible educational materials.
What Else Can You Do?
Did you know that there is a link between education and health literacy? Research from Brookings Institute found that education in general is one of the many social determinants of one’s health and well-being. Therefore, employers who support their employees’ educational endeavors are not only improving their employees’ health literacy, but also their quality of life. Not only that, but additional research shows that supporting education leads to a happier, healthier, and more satisfied workforce. Listed below are three ways employers can support employee education as outlined by The Benefits Guide:
- Career Development: Set each employee up for success, growth and professional development. Encourage them to attend conferences and educational workshops. You can also provide opportunities for them to shadow more experienced employees, participate in projects that require more responsibility, and allow them to learn new skills and progress within the company.
- Support Higher Education: Create a company culture that is dedicated to and supportive of life-long learning. Offer flexible hours for those taking college classes and consider partnering with local schools and universities. As part of your benefits package, you can offer tuition assistance or prepaid tuition to help ease financial stress. You can even offer programs within the organization that help employees choose the classes that will help them with their career goals!
- Focus on Health Literacy: Educating your employees about their health and healthcare is one of the best ways to help improve your employees’ well-being. You can provide workshops, brochures, lunch-and-learns, or sections on your company wellness portal that help employees improve their health literacy. For example, the Health Designs wellness portal provides employees with health assessments, personal health reports, virtual well-being coaching, on demand webinars and a personalized health feed all focused on educating employees about their health and well-being. To learn more about this offering, contact us or watch our YouTube video!