The need for businesses to support and engage with employees has never been more important than it is now after months of lockdown, and looking after their wellbeing is an obvious way of making such a connection.
Indeed, recent research by YuLife finds that 87% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer if the organisation commits to improving employee wellbeing.
But the research also finds that 26% of respondents do not feel that their employer is prioritising their wellbeing. This certainly tallies with the impressions we have gleaned from our own client base.
Failure to address fundamental issues such as health and wellness may affect employee retention and can play havoc with the bottom line because the costs of replacing an individual who leaves can easily amount to a year of their salary.
It is not just the advertising and recruitment agency costs that take their toll. There is also the drain on HR and line manager time during the induction and training processes and the loss of productivity during the early months before a new staff member is able to become fully effective.
Some of the steps that can be taken to develop a wellness strategy are relatively straightforward, and can range from simple things like offering bowls of fresh fruit at reception and encouraging employees to take walks at lunch time to using the Cycle to Work scheme for commuting.
The same YuLife survey finds that 65% of respondents would do more physical activity if their organisation rewarded healthy behaviour, and 37% say this would make them increase their exercise by an additional two hours a week.
13% also say they would like their employer to offer social events or entertainment that are focused on improving their wellbeing, and a further 13% are interested in receiving a subsidised gym membership.
Some more extensive programmes, including private medical insurance (PMI) and health cash plans, incorporate a range of benefits to support employee wellbeing. Additionally, many of these providers and group risk providers offer employee assistance programmes (EAPs), and we can help you identify whether these are appropriate for your needs.
The core stress-counselling functions of EAPs, which typically offer employees confidential telephone-based and face-to-face counselling, can have a crucial role to play in mental health wellbeing – especially in preventing initial stress problems developing into full-blown absenteeism issues.
However, they are of little use unless employees actually know about them. So, we can use a range of different communications channels to boost awareness of all such features, as well as of services available on virtual health apps like mental health support and online GP appointments.
We can also help to increase the profile of the second medical opinion services on many group risk schemes and of the early intervention and rehabilitation services automatically included within group income protection schemes.
Nevertheless, each of these features only represents one piece of the overall health and wellbeing jigsaw and may need to be successfully integrated with other resources such as absence management programmes and occupational health.
You may also benefit from Chase de Vere’s Financial Education Service, as our How To Budget module is directly relevant to wellbeing, helping employees to feel more confident about dealing with money and to take control of their home finances.
It covers topics such as how to set up a budget – together with the online resources available and the information you will need – ways to stay on top of your bills and ways to make your money go further.
Our fully integrated approach means we may also be able to save you money by cutting out overlap. For example, a firm may have several EAPs included on different employee benefits.
It may be possible to negotiate discounts by removing unwanted benefits that are duplicated elsewhere but, if not, we can at least recommend which of your current providers is offering the best service to take advantage of.
Content correct at the time of writing and is intended for general information only and should not be construed as advice.