‘Timing is everything’ is a well-worn cliché. Nevertheless, sometimes the importance of timing should not be underestimated. For example, where an employee is struggling to cope with a physical or mental health condition, an employer promptly approaching its group risk benefits provider can ensure that appropriate support is available as soon as possible.
While early intervention can facilitate timely access to rehabilitation services, reducing absence length and associated costs, the group risk industry has also strengthened its offerings at an even earlier stage of the process by providing value-added services that take a preventative approach to workforce wellness.
The additional services that are available alongside core group risk products, whether these are aimed at helping employees improve their health and wellbeing or supporting family and colleagues through bereavement, can form an invaluable part of an employer’s benefits provision.
However, if both employers and employees are to make the most of group risk benefits, it is imperative that they know what services these benefits entail, how they can be accessed, the forms of support available, and the range of situations and issues they can help to address.
Engagement with these benefits can be driven by an effective communications strategy that reinforces awareness and understanding, for which employers can also call on group risk providers and advisers for support. But if the benefits are to achieve the aims an organisation is hoping for, and foster a workplace culture where staff are motivated, productive and engaged, then time must be taken to consider these goals and the requirements of the workforce. And here timing steps into the spotlight again.
In a roundtable discussion held in September 2015, sponsored by MetLife, participating industry experts highlighted the advantages of employers, advisers and group risk providers meeting outside of the contract renewal cycle. This allows time for greater insight into elements such as employee feedback, sickness absence trends, and workforce demographics, thereby helping employers to select the group risk products, value-added services and communications support that best suits their overall benefits strategy, organisational objectives and staff needs.
Louise Fordham, deputy editor, Employee Benefits