Health care is a priority for employers in 2014

doctor explaining diagnosis to his female patient. iStockphoto

(MoneyWatch) Health care has been a critical reason people seek employment, but now it is being seen as mission critical by employers, according to Josh Stevens, CEO of Keas, an employee health and wellness company. They released an HR executive survey about the coming open enrollment season, where employees have the opportunity to enroll or make changes to their healthcare plans.

Not only are companies concerned about health care plans, but they are concerned about actual employee health as well: 60 percent of HR executives cite "lowering overall healthcare costs" and "improving overall employee health" as top priorities for 2014. This shows a continuation of the trend for companies develop and implement "wellness" programs.

Thirty four percent of companies are looking to increase participation in already existing healthcare plans.

With massive changes in healthcare laws through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), HR executives are focused on meeting those targets.

Seventy four percent of respondents said they were on track to meet the original January 2014 deadline.

Since the deadline for ACA compliance has been moved back to 2015, 58 percent will still meet the 2014 target.

Thirty nine percent have concerns that they will be "overwhelmed" by employee communications and concerns.

Twenty four percent say they have no concerns at all regarding communication.

Healthcare is not the only focus of HR executives: 42 percent say that employee recruitment and retention is a key priority for the coming year. HR executives also say that CEOs are critical to a company's desire to attract and keep top talent. For instance:

Sixty four percent of HR executives said that CEOs are guilty of not recognizing what motivates employees

Forty one percent say that CEOs fail to lead in HR initiatives

Thirty two percent say that CEOs don't have company culture as a priority.

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