Focusing on the needs of the whole workforce holistically helps to create winning solutions for employees, says Damian Stancombe

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At Barnett Waddingham we have been on a journey over the past three years, looking at ways to diversify from our actuarial core to examine the overriding workplace issues.

Employers have to understand that their staff don’t compartmentalise their issues: they carry all those burdens every single day – and so we look at the workplace as a single entity, working as one cohesive team.

To do this, we created a single Workplace Health & Wealth team with one core belief system, looking at the workplace as an entirety, getting under the skin of problems and then finding the solutions to help employees.

Another real differential that sets Barnett Waddingham apart is our analytics: we don’t simply jump in with solutions, we work out what the problems and concerns are, and also the correlation of issues and the costs for the employer.

Analytics, against the backdrop of a diverse workforce, helps us to gain a clearer picture of your workplace and understand the problems.

As a result we’ve built and refined GEM and BWell, which together allow an analytical approach to both health and wealth:

• Wealth

GEM sits on the wealth side of this, looking not just at pensions but rather assimilating short, medium and long-term savings.

It pushes against the fact that the only financial security that companies tend to offer is the pension. Many employees start their working lives thinking about saving up a deposit for a house or may be in a position of debt: for those staff members, a pension is neither engaging nor valued.

• Health

BWell is on the health side, using our concept of the six pillars, which tries to understand the impact of an employee’s wellness on the workplace: My job, financial security, health, support, protection and lifestyle (encapsulating work/life balance).

These pillars help organisations to identify the areas that are detrimental to their business, and start thinking of pertinent solutions for their employees.

It’s key for companies to understand where their health and wellbeing issues lie, and to start engaging the workforce with solutions to these issues, to increase productivity. Employers have to take an analytical approach, so that they focus their spend on the right areas, and thus gain the greatest possible return on investment.

• Me2

Barnett Waddingham is not product-focused – but our employee-facing proposition Me2 also allows us to wrap our two solutions in digital activity. On one side, it demystifies pensions through empowerment, engagement and education. It’s all about engaging people with their pensions, lifetime allowance, freedoms and so on – as well as other aspects of the savings journey, such as debt and the LISA. The other half of Me2 focuses on choices, and the six pillars of wellbeing. Flexible benefits aren’t just about one enrolment window annually. Choice is about recognising that your staff are unique and understanding their stresses and strains, and directing them to the appropriate benefit building blocks.

Again, it has to be an analytical approach, to ensure that what you’re putting in place gives you value for investment: and measuring progress closes the circle as you discover what will give you greatest ROI and what helps your staff the most.

Future innovation – with lessons from the past

So what’s the picture, moving into 2017? We’re bringing the concept of ‘human capital’ into the arena, and learning lessons from the past – in fact from ancient history.

In fact, we’re talking about Aristotle’s Eudaimonia: ‘human flourishing’. Employers want their employees to flourish and grow, because they’ll be greater assets to their organisation. In 2017, we’ll be discussing the meaning of Eudaimonia in a very changing workforce: it will be critical to any organisation to be able to recruit and retain from the talent pool.

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