Nick Bacon: Health cash plans can help support staff in an economic downturn

Employers have a statutory duty of care to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Beyond this statutory duty, many employers recognise that improving staff health and wellbeing has significant benefits, such as lowering the high costs of sickness absence and improving on-the-job performance.

Nick Bacon

Workplace schemes to improve health and wellbeing, such as smoking cessation and healthy eating, are good for staff and organisational performance: a genuine win-win.

Effective health and wellbeing strategies require managerial commitment to develop and deliver an integrated plan of action to improve health and wellbeing. Action plans should be developed following careful health risk assessments. The impact of these actions on staff health should be assessed as part of an overall risk management strategy.

Aim of the strategy

The aim of the strategy should be to improve staff health and wellbeing in the long term, and so improve on-the-job performance. Improving staff health and wellbeing has a positive influence on staff behaviour, work attendance and on-the-job performance.

Health cash plans are a cost-effective way to support staff wellbeing in difficult economic conditions. Such plans are low cost and provide a degree of financial security, peace of mind and facilitate prompt treatment.

Employers may also benefit from employee assistance programmes, helplines and discounted gym membership for staff at no extra charge. Health cash plans may also encourage staff to take some responsibility for their health, promote regular attendance at health checks, and help modify staff behaviour and reduce health risk factors.

Nick Bacon is professor of human resource management at Cass Business School


Read the digital edition of our Health cash plans supplement 2014 in full.