Focusing on taboo health woes boosts employee wellbeingby
From endometriosis to menopause, an increasing number of progressive employers are tailoring their wellbeing strategies to tackle taboo health issues and ultimately boost retention.
Recent research by Peppy and REBA revealed that lack of diverse leadership, attracting and retaining female talent and enhancing employer brand are some of the most pressing challenges facing organisations today. To tackle these issues, an increasing number of employers are offering specialist health solutions as part of their employee wellbeing package.
Why support colleagues with specialist support?
Across the world, the pandemic has placed workplace wellbeing firmly in the spotlight. In response, the vast majority of employers are investing in employee wellbeing as part of their wider benefits strategy.
However, rather than opting for one-too-many wellbeing benefits, the focus has shifted to a new evolution of specialist solutions, which tackle specific areas of health that are often taboo. These include menopause, fertility, early parenthood, men’s health and women’s health.
Over half of women with endometriosis say they often take time off work due to their symptoms, and over a quarter have changed or left their job as a result
Why? Because society is beginning to understand the true impact of these common, yet largely underserved, areas of health on individuals, and on business too.
The scale of the problem becomes immediate when we look at one specific example: endometriosis, a common and often-debilitating fertility condition that affects approximately 10% of the female population.
According to findings from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis, it takes on average 7.5 years for a woman to be diagnosed. Over half of women with endometriosis say they often take time off work due to their symptoms, and over a quarter have changed or left their job as a result. The cost to the UK economy is nearly £10 million per year.
It's a similar story for menopause, infertility, low testosterone in men and much more. These health journeys are common yet significant. They can take months if not years to be diagnosed and correctly treated without access to highly trained specialists, with a significant knock-on effect for businesses.
Without employer intervention, there’s a gap between those who can access and afford specialist support and those who can’t. This is where employers have a key role to play.
What are the benefits to business?
Anecdotally, the primary reason many employers give for offering specialist health support via a digital app is that it is the “right thing to do”. Practically and speaking in business terms, the advantages are tangible.
For employee retention, specialist health support could be the difference between helping rising talent thrive, and losing them to long-term sickness leave. With one in ten women leaving their job because of menopause symptoms, surely it makes sense for employers to do everything in their power to retain female employees at the prime of their careers.
What’s more, in today’s job-seekers market, an enhanced wellbeing package that includes specialist health support could set one employer head and shoulders above their competitors when it comes to attracting top talent. In fact, a US survey revealed that 88% of respondents would consider changing jobs for fertility benefits.
How can HR teams choose the best solutions?
As with most employee benefits, the best (and most likely to achieve uptake targets) are personalised, inclusive and accessible. Today’s market-leading, specialist health solutions are delivered digitally – as apps, virtual consultations and online portals – so they can reach the whole workforce effectively and affordably.
The best solutions give employees access to a team of highly trained experts, so they can connect with the right specialist, ideally one-to-one via chat or video call
Digital support is highly inclusive through its accessibility: whether an employee works remotely, works shifts or cares for children or elderly parents alongside their job, they can access the support they need when they need it.
Furthermore, the best solutions give employees access to a team of highly trained experts, so they can connect with the right specialist, ideally one-to-one via chat or video call. In comparison to automated responders or bots, human-led solutions provide bespoke expertise delivered with compassion. And, compared to nine-minute-long GP appointments, they allow colleagues the time they need to get to the root of the problem.
From time off for sickness to loss of productivity to attrition, the cost of not offering specialist support for some of employees’ most major health journeys far outweighs the cost of implementing support that has the capacity to be life-changing for employees and game-changing for organisations.