Resting my weary feet after the Employee Benefits Live 2014 conference at Olympia last week, I reflected on the hot topics dominating chat in the coffee bars and conference sessions.
We got to meet lots of HR Managers on our stand and asked them, when it comes to choosing employee health cover did they go with their head or their heart? You can watch our video to find out what they said.
How to successfully implement a Health and Wellbeing Strategy was also on many people’s agenda and, not surprisingly, presentations abounded on this subject in the Health & Wellbeing Conference Theatre. My top three take outs were:
1. Get a handle on your company’s particular issues:
Speakers advised to cast the net wide when trying to understand the particular nature of health needs in your company.
You should scour everything from absence data, through Employee Assistance Programme utilisation and health insurance claims data, Occupational Health and Group Income Protection referrals, to employee engagement and presenteeism insight gleaned from staff surveys.
2. Put mental health at the heart of your Health and Wellbeing Strategy:
Buck Consultants told us that three quarters of people suffering from common forms of mental illness are not currently in treatment, and suicide is the biggest killer among men aged under 50.
It’s not surprising then that Buck’s latest Global Wellness Survey reveals two fifths of employers have seen a rise in mental health problems, and that stress and depression are now the top two reasons cited for implementing a Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
3. Consider carefully how best to communicate your strategy to staff:
Cafcass, whose social workers support children in the family courts, recognised that their workforce are most comfortable with verbal communication, so they enlist staff champions to get people engaged through face to face conversations.
Staff participation in a survey about health needs also served to raise awareness ahead of the subsequent launch of their health cash plan. Construction firm Wates advised us to focus most effort on staff who are already engaged. Their enthusiasm for, and participation in, wellness initiatives infects more passive colleagues around them.
Developing a fully fledged Health and Wellbeing strategy for your company can be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a handy strategy planner to make it easier for you to get started. Hopefully the presentations at next year’s conference will be full of your health and wellbeing success stories.