Given that the government is drawing back, no one should be without a way to protect their own financial stability and that of their family, especially because according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’) Quarterly sector accounts, UK: October to December 2017, published in xx the UK household’s savings ratio fell to an annual record low in 2017. Group risk protection benefits throw a financial lifeline to a family when they need it the most so it is easy to see why these benefits are of value to a workforce, but what do they do for employers?
In Group Risk Development’s (Grid) latest employer research published in November 2017, employers cite several key reasons for providing group risk benefits. These range from helping with recruitment, retention and differentiating their package, to being able to recoup the costs in improved productivity and team morale, as well as paternalism.
Group risk providers include everyday services that can be used to help employers, HR, line managers and employees to manage absence, mental health and issues that can detract from productivity. Such services include employee assistance programmes, access to a second medical opinion, fast-track access to talking therapies and physiotherapy, early absence interventions, line manager and HR support, mental first aid training and more. Increasingly, group risk support also includes help in encouraging better health behaviours, for example, through access to GP services and health tracking apps.
All in all, enlightened employers see exactly how group risk protection benefits and their inherent support help with engagement and productivity, and how they enable a business to demonstrate that it takes employee wellbeing and duty of care seriously. They also ensure that there is fair and consistent treatment of people (failing to do this can breach the Equality Act 2010).
Even with the distractions of Brexit and current foreign relations, the government’s flagship ambitions for health and wellbeing at work are still forging ahead, as outlined in the government’s Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability roadmap, Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices and the Thriving at Work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers. All of these firmly place additional expectations on employers to support their workforce better and to help reduce the disability employment gap, so businesses need to prepare to take up the baton.
Given their increasing obligations, why would employers not want to place themselves in a prime position to comply with their role in the government’s plans for achieving a healthy and inclusive workforce? That healthy and inclusive workforce is surely what any good employer wants. Why not use group risk benefits to deliver this?
Katharine Moxham is spokesperson at industry body Group Risk Development (Grid)