The last decade has seen a shift in why employers are keen to implement employee benefits. Using them as a way of attracting and retaining staff will always be high on the list of reasons, however, there is now a greater focus on the proactive elements of healthcare, risk, and wellness. Namely, reducing claims while also supporting employees’ mental health and providing them with the tools to better manage their work-life balance.
For some insurers and providers, the pro-active wellness approach is no longer an additional benefit, but rather the core philosophy of how plans should be used.
When thinking about work-life balance and the changes employers have made to accommodate this post-COVID, the most obvious adaptation for the large majority would be flexible / hybrid working, now the norm for most companies. Considering employee benefits, the greatest change affecting work-life balance has to be the way in which members are now able to access advice, specialist care, and treatment via the use of technology.
No longer do employees have to wait until 9am for phone lines to open to speak with a customer care team to obtain policy information. Now they can log on to a portal, find literature, certificates, start a live web chat, and begin a claims process, regardless of the time of day. No longer do employees have to take time off work to attend doctor’s appointments. Virtual GP appointments can now be made with the vast majority of providers, allowing employees to arrange a video consultation at a time that suits them, with any prescriptions being sent immediately to the pharmacy for collection within the hour. The employee’s health is improved at a much quicker speed, therefore reducing the potential for certain conditions to deteriorate and require subsequent care.
Some insurers and providers reward employees who demonstrate healthy activity and positive behaviours by unlocking discounts with retail providers, also through gamification which can be carried out at a company level, i.e., colleagues competing against colleagues. advo have found this to be a really great way of promoting benefits and engaging staff, resulting in a healthier workforce and improving company culture.
The promotion of benefits and getting under the skin of what is available through employee benefits is key to getting the most out of them, and where an intermediary can really make a difference. Many providers offer webinars to educate clients on what benefits are available, as well as topical talks on mental health regarding managing stress and avoiding burnout. Promoting and encouraging staff to take part in these demonstrates that the importance of work-life balance is a significant part of an employer’s wellness strategy and will give employees additional tools to manage this aspect.
Below are some suggestions as to how employee benefits can help with the issues that we all face today:
Ever increasing wait times for NHS care: Virtual GPs, private medical insurance plans, and dental insurance can all assist with this issue. Cash plans also allow employees access to everyday healthcare, such as therapies, without the need for GP referral.
Cost of living crisis: Risk benefits that are not P11D taxable make it a more attractive benefit for staff and provide financial security for themselves and loved ones. Retail discount portals allow employees to make savings on everyday spending. Running mortgage clinics and finance management seminars can provide options to those who are struggling as well as utilising the range of services available through an EAP.
Finding time: Promoting discounts with gym groups or partnering with a local gym for subsidised rates and ease of access. Promoting mindfulness either through apps, or dedicating time within work hours for staff to partake in wellbeing activities to set them up for the day. Carrying out onsite health screening or flu vaccinations can help with ‘life admin’ that otherwise creeps down the to-do list.
If you would like an in-depth analysis of the benefits you currently offer or would like a bespoke wellness plan created to best suit your business then please get in touch and let us know. Thank you for reading, if you’re interested in more related articles, feel free to head over to our news page which we regularly update with equally useful information.