Employee benefits can be game-changers when it comes to the successful recruitment, retention and motivation of a productive and happy workforce, as Brian Hall explains
The latest data from the British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey indicates the net balance of UK companies expect turnover to increase over the next 12 months, and that profitability and confidence have stabilised.
Certainly, providing the flexible benefits which meet the changing needs of employees can have a positive impact on business success. Employers who show an investment in their people, and demonstrate how they value and support the wellbeing of employees, are in a far stronger position to compete for top talent in an increasingly competitive labour market.
Implemented correctly, a tailored employee benefits offering can make any business a more attractive employer while also cementing key people within an organisation. When it comes to staff motivation and retention, benefits schemes have been shown to boost employee engagement. Perhaps even more important is the fact that with more modern benefits strategies placing greater emphasis on health and wellbeing, they also have the potential to drive down levels of absence and presenteeism and increase productivity.
It is becoming more evident that providing employees with easy access to personalised support for their health and wellbeing can build a strong, resilient workforce. While this change will not happen overnight, simple measures such as providing round-the-clock access to a GP helpline or discounted gym membership, can have a long-term positive impact on workforce wellbeing.
By focusing on building resilience, employees can learn to recognise for themselves when they need to seek out help and, crucially, employers can ensure there are no barriers to them doing so.
Take the BHSF Employee Assistance Programme, for example. The 24-hour helpline offers confidential access to a telephone counselling service 365 days a year, providing support on a host of mental health issues and emotional problems.
Picking up the phone to a counsellor is one of the first steps on the road to self-help, so the EAP has an important part to play in combating health problems and building all-important resilience.
For many organisations, the main barrier to implementing an employee benefits strategy, which successfully supports both the employees and the future success of the business, is that benefits are perceived as being too costly. Many HR professionals are therefore surprised to hear benefits can actually be provided from a low cost base, and that they could be reaping the rewards of the positive impact of benefits from just a few pounds per employee per year.
For example, a BHSF EAP starts from just £2 per employee per year, while providing a GP helpline is just £2.50 per employee per year.
Health screenings are available from £25 per person.
A simple yet highly effective way to increase engagement with employees, screenings can be held on-site during work hours so individuals can participate at their convenience. Screening will quickly identify risk factors, and tailored expert advice can also be given to prevent future health issues or help to rectify existing problems.
This proactive approach to employee wellbeing is inexpensive when you consider it has the potential to make a dramatic difference to the long-term health of an entire workforce.
As businesses focus on growth in the improving economic climate, it is essential business leaders understand how a tailored benefits package is not an expendable cost; a modest investment in benefits can actually make a real difference to the bottom line.
Ultimately, for any organisation (no matter their size) serious about attracting and retaining the top talent, while improving engagement and productivity through employee health and wellbeing, a robust employee benefits strategy is not an optional extra but an essential driver for long-term business success.