Engaged employees are good for business. By creating a culture where employees feel valued and happy to be at work, an organisation can often see improvements in productivity, innovation, financial performance, and reductions in absence and staff turnover.
And as engagement becomes more and more important for employers, the link between employee health and wellbeing and engagement strategies has also become more apparent. In fact, health benefits, such as health cash plans and health insurance were second and third respectively in the 2017 Willis Towers Watson Employee Benefits and Wellbeing Index (1), behind contributory pension schemes.
So why do employee health and wellbeing strategies have such an impact on employee engagement? In its simplest form it’s because it’s one of the clearest ways for an employer to show it really cares about its staff. The BMG Research Employee Panel (2), surveyed in March 2017, saw an increase in engagement levels of 31% from employees who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.
Here are a few ways a health and wellbeing strategy could help to improve employee engagement before, during and after health issues occur to employees;
Support before it happens
Health and wellbeing benefits can raise engagement among employees who don’t need medical treatment by enabling them to take steps to lead a healthier life.
A good example of this is a health assessment. Many serious conditions don’t have symptoms so by enabling employees to have a health assessment, they could identify major problems such as heart disease and diabetes early. Catching them at this stage can make them much easier to treat, whilst some conditions are preventable if identified early.
Health information such as nutrition and exercise advice is another valuable component of a health and wellbeing strategy. This can help employees make lifestyle choices that enable them to lead healthier and happier lives.
Support when it happens
When an employee is suffering with a health condition, helping them to access treatment quickly through a healthcare policy can significantly speed up their recovery, getting them back to work and enjoying life quicker. Unsurprisingly, this is something employees really appreciate, which can translate into increased employee engagement.
Support after it happens
Health cash plans are there to enable employees to claim money back for everyday healthcare costs such as an appointment with the dentist, an eye test and new glasses, prescriptions and a course of physiotherapy – potentially saving them hundreds of pounds every single year. As this helps to make an employee’s salary stretch further, it is often highly appreciated therefore leading to higher levels of engagement.
These plans can also help keep employees well. Regular dental check-ups can spot the warning signs of serious problems such as detecting abscesses while an eye examination can detect medical issues including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Maximising the benefits
Whether employees’ claims cashback on a regular health appointment, or a health assessment picks up a problem early, knowing their employer cares can make employees feel valued, which in turn can contribute to higher levels of engagement. But to maximise the benefits it’s essential to encourage all employees to engage with your strategy as much as possible.
The way you communicate your health and wellbeing benefit will play a huge part in determining how employees use and value the service, so ensure communications are regular and relevant to your employees’ needs. This shows you understand and value them.
Some healthcare providers like Benenden will work with you to provide ongoing support with your communications. This can include marketing literature but also advice around health initiatives that will help create a positive culture of employee wellbeing.
To find out how Benenden’s cost effective health and wellbeing services can help increase engagement before, during and after your employees’ health issues occur go to www.benenden.co.uk/business
To discover how Benenden could support your business with our health and wellbeing services please call 0808 301 2434 or click here.