With the job market being at an all-time high of competitiveness, human resource professionals continue to search for ways to attract the best talent, reduce turnover, and ensure employee quality of life. As research increasingly proves the tight link between the microbiome, individuals’ gut health, and overall wellness, companies have the opportunity to close the gap of care for employees by offering inclusive, gut-first approach to health coverage while also opening a conversation that includes the often silent struggle with chronic digestive conditions that 70 million Americans suffer from.
While the world of a gut-first health approach may be foreign to some, the awareness of the microbiome and its impact on both mental and physical health has been growing significantly over the past decade. From early studies correlating improved health with a healthier microbiome to President Obama’s administration creating the National Microbiome Initiative, the adoption of a gut-first health approach has been building momentum for years. As employers strive to maximize their benefit dollars spent on employees, it is important to explore the tight link between serious health issues, increased spending on prescription drugs, higher risk of ER visits, etc. and GI disease.
Microbiome… what’s that?
Each of us has approximately 39 trillion microscopic cells bustling around inside of our gut right now. Why so many? Because these micro critters have some very important jobs to do.
Together, these cells are known as the gut microbiome, and one of the gut microbiome’s most crucial functions is to regulate immunity. Simply put, the bacteria in the gut can influence how susceptible our bodies are to disease. One example: High amounts of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are found in healthy guts, but these numbers are often extremely low in people with diseases, such as Crohn’s and colitis.
Gut-First Approach: Showing Employees You Care
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 49% of the population receives insurance through employers. Insurance claims can be expensive, and maximizing preventative care is vital. While health insurance is a basic benefit that few companies overlook, many companies are now realizing that individuals are looking for more than just the basics: adding more holistic health and wellness benefits for their employees boosts employee well-being and promotes a strong culture
By offering benefits like GIThrive, which provides comprehensive care for digestive health and wellbeing, employers are telling current employees and prospective hires that they recognize the digestive health struggles that millions of people deal with on a daily basis. Employers who take extra step toward employee wellness not only throw their hat in the ring as a company who may seem more appealing to potential hires, but are also indicating to employees that they are seen. Digestive health is rarely discussed on an interpersonal level, much less in employee/employer relationships. Signaling that your company recognizes the importance of GI health will appeal to the masses (i.e. the 70+ million Americans that struggle with digestive conditions – that’s twice as many as those with diabetes!) while saving you significant money along the way.
More on Saving Money
Want to learn more about how adding unique employee benefits can reduce costs? Check out this post about how diversifying benefits can attract (and keep!) the best of the best employees.
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