Wellbeing is increasingly acknowledged as being more than physical, as traditional benefits packages used to address. With 75 per cent of respondents offering private medical insurance and 83 per cent offering occupational sick pay in our autumn UK Reward Management Survey, benefits that support the physical health of employees remain at the top of employers’ agendas. Healthcare cash plans are also popular, and pension and life assurance schemes were amongst the top benefits reported by employers.
However, employers are increasingly understanding how wellbeing is interconnected. Financial wellbeing has a direct impact on mental health and employees are looking for their employer to go beyond paying lip service to this – they are looking at how this is supported across the business. Financial wellbeing is a priority given the cost of living crisis, with many employers offering greater access to financial tools and webinars, and some providing hardship funds to support those most impacted.
One in four employers reported considering offering a one-off cost of living payment to ease the financial impact of the economic climate, with an average reported lump sum of £750 per employee. One in three offer this to all staff, whilst 40 per cent are providing this to lower paid/level employees only. This has a direct link with the mental health of employees as employers seek to reduce the anxiety that financial pressures can introduce.
Other employers are providing access to mental health first aiders to provide immediate support to employees struggling with their mental health. 93 per cent of employers offer an Employee Assistance Programme, illustrating how a rounded approach to employee wellbeing is crucial. This all goes beyond the traditional cash benefits that employers are used to offering, to encompass a greater focus on the individual and their own priorities.
Many employers are reviewing their approach to employee benefits, considering how flexible benefits enable the individual to tailor their reward package to their own preferences and priorities – ensuring that employees can cherry pick the ones that they value most. Whilst this can drive employee satisfaction from the reward package, done right it can also drive cost savings for employers who can offer a ‘menu’ of options that can appeal to different demographics across the workforce and the wellbeing support they require. 27 per cent of UK Reward Management Survey respondents currently offer flexible benefits; half do not offer flexible benefits and while 23 per cent do not offer this yet, it is under consideration.