Employee health and wellbeing: for the many, not the few

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Employee health and wellbeing is something that all organisations should be thinking about, yet according to recent research, only 8%[i] of workplaces have a specific strategy in place. Of course, many companies do offer benefits like private medical insurance, but often only for more senior members of staff, or those who’ve been with the company for a number of years – while other workers miss out.

With the average annual premium for private medical insurance reported to be £1,023[ii], perhaps it’s not surprising that many employers feel they simply can’t afford to offer this benefit to everyone. But perhaps the real question is, can you afford not to?

The real cost of benefits

Rather than just looking at the bottom line, it’s important to look at the wider picture – and the impact health and wellbeing benefits can have on your workforce. To start with they’ll help you attract and retain staff, as well as ensuring your business looks competitive in the market place. But perhaps more importantly, they’ll help motivate and engage your employees, driving performance and ultimately profitability. And to put that in perspective, the UK loses up to £70 billion[iii] in lost productivity every year, because of disengaged employees.

It’s also true that more than a quarter of employers[iv] have had workers off sick for long periods of time, while they wait for treatment or tests on the NHS. If offered treatment privately, it’s possible to get people back at their desks, fully recovered, much sooner.

Is it what employees want?

The simple answer to that is ‘yes’ – and that’s backed up by some compelling evidence. In one recent study, 49%[v] of employees said they wanted their organisation to focus more on health and wellbeing. And in a different survey, an incredible 86% of employees said that a wellness programme has had a positive effect on their health[vi].

Getting the balance right

So how can you give your employees what they want, while still balancing the books? Perhaps the most cost-effective route is to invest in prevention rather than protection. That means educating all your employees on the best ways to stay fit, healthy and stress-free, as well as giving them access to a range of health and wellbeing services that provide high value but keep the cost low. And these can be offered as a standalone option, or alongside your existing benefits package:

  • Limited benefit PMI plans (e.g. cancer only, diagnostics only, in-patient only, 6 week options)
  • Health cash plan
  • Dental insurance
  • Employee assistance programmes
  • Group life insurance (often referred to as death in service)
  • Health screening (including flu jabs)
  • Gym discounts
  • Private or virtual GP access
  • Retirement planning and financial education workshops

But it’s not just about their health or their finances; it’s about helping you to provide the right support, to the right employee at the right time. Sometimes when you look after the physical and financial wellbeing of your workforce, their emotional wellbeing looks after itself. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to establish what your employees want – before putting together the most appropriate benefits package.

If you’d like to find out more about how offering a range of health and wellbeing benefits can help your workforce as well as your business, you might also want to take a look at our useful infographic, or find out more by contacting your usual Jelf consultant.

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employee health and wellbeing infographic

[i] https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/employee-outlook_2017-spring_tcm18-21163.pdf
[ii] LaingBuisson Health Cover UK Market Report 13th edition, 2017
[iii] https://www.talentforgrowth.com/engagement/disengaged-employees/
[iv] https://www.cigna.co.uk/assets/docs/news-room/1111-health-and-wellbeing-an-employers-perspective.pdf[v] https://www.mercer.com/content/dam/mercer/attachments/global/Talent/talent-trends/gl-2017-mercer-global-talent-trends-infographic-uk.pdf
[vi] MetLife Employee Benefits Trends Survey 2017


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Alexis is an experienced marketing professional who is passionate about copywriting and the power of compelling marketing content.