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Benefits providers must step up to help employers meet the workplace wellbeing challenge

2nd Mar 2016
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This year the government is asking employers to take increased responsibility for employee health and to refocus corporate wellbeing programmes on preventative measures.

With employee absence currently costing employers an average of £554 per person, per year it makes good business sense for employers to future proof their approach to employee health and wellbeing.

However, I don’t think employers can do this without insurers, benefits providers and employers working together to tackle these problems differently.

The employer challenge

The starting point for employers is to acknowledge the importance of moving to a more proactive approach to employee health which focuses on preventing rather than solving wellbeing issues.

This will require investment in new kinds of benefits and wellbeing programmes, but if we are to ensure our aging workforce remain productive and effective through their careers then it is a choice which cannot be ignored– particularly when the reliability of NHS as the first line of support is increasingly in question.

Fresh thinking from benefits and insurance providers

Employers cannot do all the thinking about this on their own and benefits and insurance providers need play their own role in ensuring employers have the kind of solutions which they need.

For benefits providers, this could mean a shift from offering a set of benefits products to a set of solutions targeted to meet the needs of a specific size of business or industry sector. It will certainly involve offering a proposition which covers the parts of employee wellbeing which are currently overlooked like dental and optical benefits.

For insurance providers, faced with employers who want to minimize the cost of employee wellbeing, the challenge will be to provide plans and programmes which reduce premiums by incentivizing employees to take greater responsibility for their own healthcare. Here there is scope to mirror the US where employees are rewarded for losing weight, smoking cessation, increased fitness and reduced alcohol consumption with lower insurance premiums or cash rewards.

A return on investment

For all three parties, there is a need to show that investment in wellbeing solutions delivers a business impact.  Providers must be able to demonstrate the impact on health outcomes which will require wider metrics than take-up figures. To do that they need to work with employers assess how their schemes reduce sick leave, absence and illness.

Rob will be at the Health and [email protected] Conference, 8th March, NEC Birmingham.

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By Jackie Ramsay
05th Mar 2016 19:30

Hi Robert, I wholeheartedly agree with the views above. We currently work with various employers throughout the UK in providing Staff Chiropody Services and I know from feedback that staff feel valued and work more positively for their employers.

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