Denplan’s recently released health and wellbeing benefits survey provides an in-depth perspective into the benefits offered to UK employees. The survey identifies how these benefits are delivered and looks at employers’ and employees’ attitudes towards them. The survey collates data from numerous employers from various industries creating a thorough and rounded perspective of the full UK employee benefits market.
ELEMENTS OF A HEALTH AND WELLBEING STRATEGY
Three quarters of the companies analysed for this year’s survey reported that they currently have a wellbeing strategy in place. Colin Perry, Head of Corporate Marketing at Denplan comments “Employee health and wellbeing has increased dramatically in importance and the majority of employers now recognise the impact a healthy workforce has on motivation and performance and even reducing staff absenteeism.”
BALANCE OF HEALTH AND WELLBEING STRATEGY
42% of those companies studied reported that their current wellbeing strategy occupies a middle ground in the ‘preventive – corrective spectrum’. However, there was found to be a subtle leaning towards employers favouring a preventive rather than a corrective approach. Companies deciding to focus on the preventative side of this spectrum may see reduce costs due to the cost of routine preventative measures often being less than corrective procedures once illness of absence arises.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING BENEFITS ON OFFER 2016
A recent trend identified in the study was that employers seem to increasingly favouring a broader mix of employee benefits. A diverse range of benefits including dental plans, childcare vouchers, cycle to work, private medical insurance, health screening and critical illness protection were all found to be offered by four in ten employers questioned.
THE MOST VALUABLE HEALTH AND WELLBEING BENEFITS IN TERMS OF ENHANCING EMPLOYEE WELLBEING
It was found that the most valuable benefits in terms of recruitment and retention of staff were high cost and on the corrective side of the preventive – corrective spectrum, private medical insurance (41%) followed by critical illness (29%). Those benefits that are offered as a means to enhance employee wellbeing are generally seen to be lower in cost and more preventive: health screening (37%) followed by dental plans (31%).
THE BASIS FOR CHOOSING BENEFITS
56% of companies studied in this year’s survey reported ‘something that will enhance employee wellbeing’ as being the key reason for choosing employee benefits. This takes the place of ‘value for money’, which was cited as the top reason in last year’s research.
BENEFITS BEING CONSIDERED OR REVIEWED
After a review of private medical insurance providers, it was found that most companies are now concentrating more on introducing other benefits that also effectively enhance wellbeing amongst employees. It is thought that this shift may be due to employers looking to achieve a greater balance between the largely corrective approach that a private medical insurance policy offers, with more preventive benefits, such as dental plans and health screening, for example.
It was found that the number of companies offering employees a dental plan as an employee benefit has increased dramatically over the last six years. A range of reasons were cited for this trend such as those related to the NHS, a wider use of intermediaries, and an increasing focus on more preventive health and wellbeing benefits.
EMPLOYER ATTITUDES TOWARDS DENTAL PLANS
It was found that 69% of employers offering a dental plan to their employees reported that it helped them to successfully attract new employees. Additionally, 73% of employers offering a plan also reported that it helped them to retain existing employees.
USE OF EMPLOYEE BENEFIT BROKERS
As many as 45% of companies studied now use a broker to procure and administer their employee benefits. This figure has risen from just 36% one year earlier indicating a dramatic increase in the confidence in the value added by employee benefits intermediaries. 90% of companies that used a broker agreed that they offer good value.
WHO DO BENEFITS COVER
Just under half of those surveyed reported that their employee benefit only provide cover for themselves. It was found that if benefits do cover others, this was likely to include the employee’s spouse and then children. Very few reported that their benefits provided cover for parents or other additional older dependants. However, 40% of those whose family members were not covered by their benefit policies reported that they would be interested in having this cover extend to their family members.
TAKE UP OF DENTAL BENEFITS
The number of employees taking out dental cover when offered has increased since last year’s report. More employees are now reporting that they at least partly pay for the benefit themselves.
HOW EMPLOYEES RATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR BENEFITS
If an employee was found to pay for a benefit themselves, value for money and cost were then both equally important factors. It was also found that a benefit that is able to be used on a regular basis is equally important as a benefit that provides cover in more of an emergency situation.
EMPLOYEES WITHOUT ACCESS TO DENTAL PLAN
It was found that over half of employees reported they would be less worried about the cost of dental treatment if they had access to a dental plan from their employer.
34% of employees reported that, if they did access to a dental plan, that they would visit the dentist more frequently, and 25% reported that they would take better care of their teeth. Additionally, 33% of employees said that having access to a dental plan as part of an employee benefit enables them to feel more strongly that their employer cares for their wellbeing.