By Ravi Punn, Employee Benefits Consultant
According to a recent health at work survey (PAM, 2022) the recent capacity crunch in UK healthcare is becoming a huge issue for both employees and employers.
Over 50% of surveyed employees reported that they are having problems accessing NHS healthcare, and 1 in 10 have been severely affected by having an operation cancelled. That means that over half of your workforce could be struggling with a health condition that is affecting their day-to-day lives, including in the workplace.
That’s why your wellbeing offering has never been more important, and why it could be the key to gaining the edge over your competitors in the battle for talent. Here are my four tips for enhancing your wellbeing offering, and providing that much-needed extra support at the time your people need it most:
1. Virtual GP services
Many employers are beginning to feel the knock-on effects of the pandemic on their employees’ wellbeing, with long waiting lists for NHS care and increasing numbers of employees being unable to work while they wait for treatment. So right now could be the perfect time to implement a virtual GP service. These types of solutions offer 24/7 access to a GP, which helps to diagnose and treat employees, and support them to be productive again as quickly as possible. This is a tangible benefit which also helps employees deal with any anxiety related to their illness.
2. Private medical insurance
Private medical insurance is fast-becoming a dealbreaker benefit for many job seekers, given the current NHS backlogs. People are also dealing with conditions which may have started during lockdown, but which they put off seeking treatment for, which is further adding to waiting times. When you also consider that working from home has potential to cause musculoskeletal issues for people working at unsuitable workstations, it isn’t hard to see how valuable this benefit is to your people.
3. Cash plans
Giving your people access to a health cash plan means they can access dental, optical, and various therapy treatments without having to worry about the cost. A cash plan refunds these costs (up to the cover amounts) and can even include an option to pay privately for a referral to a consultant, meaning your people can avoid long NHS waiting lists. Some cash plans will even reimburse any policy excess your people need to pay for hospital treatment through their private medical insurance.
4. Wellbeing strategies
Look at encouraging employees to take breaks, offer yoga sessions or walking challenges, or even implement a ‘no-email hour’ every day, or a meeting free day once a week. If you can, a company-wide ‘thank you day’, where everyone gets a few extra hours off to spend with their loved ones, is a great boost for morale. You could consider setting up a social committee to create events throughout the year, or have community initiatives or charity days to encourage employees to both take a break and take positive action for charities at the same time. Involve your people and try and appoint champions for wellbeing - even better, have one of your Exec team champion it!
Upskill your managers to spot the signs of mental health issues, and consider implementing mindfulness workshops. If you have benefits that include mental health support, contact the provider and see what services they can offer for you and your employees.
Johnson Fleming can help you build a wellbeing strategy that brings all your wellbeing benefits, policies and initiatives together, to maximise the use of your wellbeing benefits and craft an overall employee proposition that is both compelling for your current employees and attractive to potential new hires.
To find out more about how to support your people, and your business, through the current uncertain times, download Johnson Fleming’s new guide, ‘Innovative ways to elevate your employee benefits and HR strategies for 2023’.