It’s encouraging that four in five organisations are taking action, in some way, to promote and improve employee wellbeing. By far, one of the most popular ways to do this is through health and wellbeing benefits.

Our latest wellbeing research with the CIPD reveals that 94% of organisations offer one or more health promotion benefits, such as free eye tests or subsidised gym membership. Almost nine in ten (87%) provide a form of employee support, including access to counselling services or an employee assistance programme. And nearly three-quarters (72%) offer some sort of insurance or protection initiative, like private medical insurance or health cash plans.

While health benefits are a powerful tool for supporting wellbeing, there are several factors that can influence the decision to purchase them.

Budgetary constraints

Unsurprisingly, budgets come out on top; 68% of organisations cite budgetary constraints in their top three factors that influence the purchase of wellbeing benefits. Where budgets are a concern, organisations could consider alternative benefit funding methods. Offering benefits on a salary sacrifice or voluntary basis is a way to make them more affordable for employers.

But really, it’s most important for employers to consider the impact of not investing in employee health and wellbeing. An organisation’s greatest asset is its people. They’re the biggest source of business advantage. Their wellbeing is closely linked to their performance, and the performance of the business. The current average level of absence is 5.9 days. Businesses should consider how much sickness absence is costing them in terms of lost days, but also providing cover and sick pay, as well as the loss in productivity. Getting a handle on these numbers can help demonstrate the bottom line impact to the business.

Employer of choice

Over a third (36%) of organisations we surveyed said that being competitive as an employer of choice is a main influencing factor. Indeed an attractive employee benefits package can really help set an organisation apart from its recruiting competitors.

When designing the company benefits offering, employers must listen to the workforce’s wants and needs. Each employee is at a different life stage and as such, has different priorities. Providing a flexible benefits option, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, allows employees to pick and choose the benefits that are most valuable and useful to them. This adaptability helps the benefits offering stand out from the crowd, and will be more attractive to current and prospective employees alike.

Strategy alignment

Alignment with the organisation’s health and wellbeing strategy is a key factor for 33% of organisations. Health benefits are an important pillar in many wellbeing strategies, but businesses must take a holistic view, tying wellbeing in with overall organisational objectives.

Our report found that 40% of organisations agree or strongly agree that they have a standalone wellbeing strategy in support of their wider organisation strategy. While this is positive, it leaves 60% that don’t. Aligning the wellbeing strategy to the wider organisation strategy means it can retain focus and priority within the business. And to get top level buy-in and ensure the strategy has the positive impact it needs to successfully launch and develop, wellbeing must be part of company and leadership objectives.

Building your business case

Where 85% of HR teams are responsible for providing information, presenting options and gathering proposals for an employee benefits package, only 32% of HR professionals have the authority to approve that package1. This is why we’ve created this guide to building the case for health benefits, to help you present a compelling story and convince leadership to give you the nod.

The CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2019 report shares valuable insight into the world of workplace wellbeing. Download the full report here.


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1. Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing Benefits Guide 2017

All other figures are taken from the CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2019 report.

Simplyhealth Team

Simplyhealth Team

Simplyhealth helps companies, and their talent, perform well.

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