Employees are going through the worst time financially since the global crisis of 2008. First it was Covid-19 and the toll the pandemic took on their physical, mental and financial wellbeing. Now it’s the cost of living crisis and the strain of stretching their pay packet as far as possible.
A combination of factors from soaring food, fuel and utility costs and rising interest rates to slow wage growth and tax increases, is prompting many to turn to their employers for help. Benefit packages have gone from being a nice-to-have perk to something that, if properly thought through by employers who want to deliver a truly exceptional workplace experience that nurtures and retains the people they need to thrive, can be a real force for good.
Competition creates choice
Insurance companies can be a crucial source of the wellbeing support that people want from employers. Thanks to a fiercely competitive marketplace, most providers have begun to innovate and enhance their offerings over the past few years. There’s been a massive shift from a stance in which cost is the most important factor to one in which added value for the workforce is paramount.
There is a range of add-ons to insurance policies that employers can incorporate for free into their benefits programmes. One example are digital doctors. This service, which comes free with some income protection and private medical insurance policies, enables employees to talk to a remote GP within two hours of an appointment request. They can have access to unlimited face-to-face video consultations with a UK-based GP, any time, day or night, 365 days a year.
Tools such as health-management apps, online financial support and digital employee assistance programmes are also readily available.
But all this innovation comes with issues. For example, different insurance companies provide similar extras, so it can be difficult for an employer to decide which are right for their workforce. And employees can find it a challenge to navigate all the options and make an informed choice that will maximise value.
Three steps to maximising value
So how can you as an employer ensure that you’re not overwhelmed by choice paralysis and that your people get as much support as they can to keep them happy, healthy and productive?
1. Know your workforce inside out, so that you have an accurate picture of their needs and you can offer a package of benefits that will meet them. This is where your HR team plays a crucial role in gathering the right information and using it to help build a benefits programme that’s of real value to your employees and your organisation.
For example, if you know that your workforce may be struggling because their pay isn’t keeping pace with living costs, offering expert advice on a range of everyday financial topics and access to a counselling service, alongside retail vouchers or discounts, could be just the support they need.
2. Have the technology in place that makes it as easy as possible for your employees to find everything that you have to offer and to make the choices that are right for them. Having a central benefits platform to draw all the benefits from different providers into one accessible place enables you to communicate your programme more effectively and means that employees don’t miss a benefit that could be incredibly useful to them.
3. Get expert support from benefits consultants. They can use their knowledge of the market to advise you on the best options available, helping you to identify high quality products that fit your employees’ needs.
Originally posted on REBA