Equip your people | Integrating protection benefits solutions into a wider wellbeing strategy

Integrating protection benefits solutions into a wider wellbeing strategy

Good things don’t happen by chance. They happen by choice. And workplace wellbeing is no exception that. It should be about equipping your people with the tools and wherewithal to make good choices; choices that will positively impact their health and happiness.

So, it stands to reason that wellbeing strategy must evolve beyond a set of standalone initiatives, such as awareness day campaigns, to something that takes into account things like employee benefits and work design too.

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed employee wellbeing right up to the top of the business agenda, with more than eight in 10 companies globally now seeing wellbeing as a key focus, according to Aon’s latest global survey.1

A greater understanding of the link between employee wellbeing and performance is one reason for this. Researcher Gallup’s figures indicate that employees who score highly on wellbeing charts are also 41% less likely to miss work due to poor health and 81% less likely to seek to change employers within the next 12 months.2

Legal & Genera’s latest research amongst SME employers adds further weight to this. It found that while just over half (54%) of employers have a formal wellbeing strategy, for nearly a third (29%) it’s informal and 15% have no strategy. Yet, whether they have a plan in place or not, an overall average of around 8 in 10 respondents say that a good wellbeing strategy can bring about improvements across all key business parameters; such as recruitment, retention, productivity and culture.3

But, as mentioned, introducing wellbeing initiatives such as fitness challenges and healthier lunch options is not enough to bring about a palpable improvement in how your workforce feels and performs. To really make a difference, companies need to get everything more integrated. This involves communicating all the various types of support available, in a more relevant and targeted way, as part of a single wellbeing and benefits programme.

Here, we take a look at how this might look across four main pillars of wellbeing – emotional, physical, financial, and social.

Emotional wellbeing

According to 2019/20 data from the Health and Safety Executive, 51% of all work-related ill-health, and 43% of all working days lost due to ill-health, are attributed to stress, depression or anxiety.4 So, for employers keen to boost productivity, emotional wellbeing is, or should be, a priority.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) have really proven their worth in this area over the last year or so. The EAP service included as part of Legal & General’s group protection benefits, for example, was visited more than 65,000 times between May 2020 and April 2021, with most people seeking advice about everyday issues such as stress and relationships. In other words, the service is being used for the reasons it was originally designed; everyday support, as opposed to mistakenly being seen as a fix-all for everything from temporary anxiety to long-term mental illness.

With lots of people expected to continue working remotely longer term – at least some of the time – EAPs look set to remain central to day-to-day emotional support.

Physical wellbeing

Close to half (42%) of UK businesses have allocated more financial resources to support employees’ physical health since Covid-19 raised its head, figures from financial website NerdWallet suggest .

But what they often fail to recognise is that integrating their existing benefits into a programme designed to boost physical health could help improve usage of relevant services – such as EAPs and second medical opinion services that are embedded within group protection – without increasing their benefits spend.

Financial wellbeing

Financial wellbeing often takes a back seat to other types of wellbeing. According to Aon, just 54% of companies incorporate financial wellbeing into their strategies, compared to 70% for physical health and 67% for emotional wellbeing.

However, money worries can have a huge impact on employees’ ability to perform well – particularly at the moment. So, employers who fail to make their people aware of benefits that can help them to achieve financial peace of mind might be missing a trick. In that sense, it’s worth raising awareness of the fact that income protection not only protects salary in the case of long-term illness or injury, but also pension contributions.

Social wellbeing

Our social wellbeing hinges on how valued we feel within the workplace community. In other words, it’s about human connections and having a sense of purpose; something to get up for in a morning. A culture of wellbeing rests on two-way communication, understanding needs, and providing the kind of support and recognition that helps people thrive.

The communication of your wellbeing programme, as part of that culture, must be equally ‘human’ in order to help encourage take-up and usage. So, share real-life stories – ideally individuals from within the workplace – to demonstrate how benefits and services have helped, via interviews, blogs, or even short videos. And introduce information about benefits into wellbeing activities, where relevant, such as during line manager check-ins.

Above all, don’t leave any of this to chance. Otherwise, the only choice your people will be taking will be where to work next.

Take a look at our wellbeing hub, for tools and resources to help you set up and embed a valuable wellbeing strategy. In your business.

Find out more

1 Aon, Global Wellbeing Survey, 2021
2 Gallup, Take care of your people, and they’ll take care of business, 2020
3 Wellbeing at Work Barometer - Legal & General’s research was conducted by Opinium among 1,055 employees (middle managers and below) in businesses with 10-249 employees and 1,011 senior managers in business with 10-249 employees, between 13-20 May 2021.
4 HSE, Work-related ill health and occupational disease in Great Britain, 2021
5 NerdWallet, A third of business leaders unhappy with how they handled the pandemic, 2021