Seven employee benefits that help build resilience

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There’s an interesting relationship between stress and productivity. A little stress at work can actually do us good – helping us focus and prepare the body for action.

But it can also lead to mistakes, cause difficulty when making decisions and impact our ability to concentrate. There are also physical side effects of stress – small and great – that can build up over time and have serious consequences.

Stress is part of our daily lives, and learning to manage it – to bend and flex, recover and move forward – will help your employees’ build resilience when difficult situations arise. Employers who can support their employees by removing barriers (perceived or actual) can empower a more adaptive and productive workforce.

Here are seven employee benefits that build resilience among your staff.

1. Resilience training

Some employers are tackling the problem head on by equipping their staff with practical advice and take-aways on how to manage difficult situations that arise in the workplace.

Bring in a professional or elevate a passionate employee to teach your workforce about self-awareness. Taking the time for reflection will help employees recognise what causes them stress and plan coping strategies next time difficult situations arise.

Positive self-care, like eating well, exercising and getting plenty of sleep, can lead to higher levels of resilience. These healthy habits can also improve overall emotional, physical and mental health, allowing you to bounce back and take control.

Inspire positive change by reminding employees of these links, so that when that unexpected project drops in their lap, a crisis arises, or conflict strikes among co-workers, your staff will have the tools to change their reactions from stress-stricken to problem-solving.

2. Professional development programmes

Investing in the development of your employees can help them build confidence and career satisfaction.

Mentoring, peer coaching or emerging leaders programmes, where employees feel safe to learn and develop, can be a great way for employees to learn leadership skills and meet new people in the company.

They’re also great sources of relationship building and social support.

3. Employee assistance programmes

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that turn into a big problem – things like debt, stress and relationship issues. Those small things can turn into bigger problems making it difficult for employees to move forward without extra support.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) can help your distressed employees by giving them information and practical support on a range of everyday issues including work, family, relationships, money and health. They provide direct and confidential counselling and emotional support.

Devoting time to rest and recovery can help employees get back to work sooner.

Access to EAPs can ensure your employees get the extra help they need when normal coping strategies aren’t cutting it. Another perk for employers is that a lot of Group Income Protection providers offer EAPs at no additional cost.

4. Flexible work arrangements

Allow your employees the opportunity to flex their schedules with the changing nature of their days.

According to Carers UK, there are around three million people in the workforce who also have caretaking responsibilities. One of the biggest business benefits of supporting working carers is increased productivity among this group of staff, so it makes sense to invest in these efforts.

Offering flexible hours or work-from-home arrangements also shows your employees you recognise, understand and empathise with their work/life demands. It can also help alleviate potential stressors that come with balancing these demands.

5. Sick pay insurance

In 2016, an average 137 million sick days were taken by UK workers because of injury or illness, which rounds out to about 4.3 days per person.

Statutory Sick Pay alone, which pays £89.35 per week for up to 28 weeks, leaves employees facing an income gap and potential financial hardship should they fall ill or injured. Because of this exposure, employees may choose to work when they’re unwell or unfit to do so.

Offering Sick Pay Insurance, which pays a portion of their income when an employee is ill or injured and unable to work for a period of time, can help provide employees the peace of mind financially to take adequate time off for recovery.

Devoting time to rest and recovery can help employees get back to work sooner.

6 Income protection

For illnesses or injuries that render an employee unable to work for a longer period of time, Income Protection can provide a financial benefit and rehabilitation support for covered employees. It helps to relieve money worries at a difficult time.  

Your investment into the resilience of your staff can pay off big in the long run.

Removing money worries from the situation can allow employees to shed a major stressor. It also gives employees access to a team of experts who can help the employee return to work successfully and productively.

Should an employee encounter a large life derailer, Income Protection can boost their capacity to recover from the set back.

7. Financial education

It’s important for employers to recognise that their staff’s money worries are their business, because it affects their business.

Financial stress is estimated to cost the UK economy £121 billion and 18 million working hours in lost productivity each year. The Money and Mental Health Institute has also shown that money worries have an enormous effect on mental wellbeing.

Help employees take charge of their finances by offering financial education through the workplace. Workshops that teach employees debt management strategies, budgeting or a break down of financially focused benefits can give employees the necessary tools to build financial resilience.

Encourage health spending and savings habits and offer employees access to workplace savings and investment schemes so they’re empowered to save for the long term. It can also ensure that they’re able to recover should a financial windfall attempt to set them back.

Help your employees learn to recover and move forward when work or life throws them curve balls. Your investment into the resilience of your staff can pay off big in the long run.

 

About Liz Walker

Photo of Liz Walker, HR Director at Unum

Liz Walker is the HR Director of Unum, a leading employee benefits provider offering Income Protection, Life insurance and Critical Illness, and corporate dental cover through the workplace, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury.

 

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