The focus within the employee benefits market has changed drastically over the past two years. The emphasis for many employers pre-pandemic was on more traditional employee benefits, which were often primarily put in place to meet contractual obligations. Now, as Covid-19 transitions from pandemic to endemic, the importance of employee wellbeing is in sharper focus. The health and wellbeing of employees is now considered a key driver for productivity within most organisations. The pandemic has had a lasting effect on the mental, physical and even financial wellbeing of employees, and in turn employers have had to establish a responsive and individualised approach to their workplace policy and employee wellbeing strategy.

‘The Great Resignation’

Although for many organisations remote working was a temporary arrangement in the face of the pandemic, the workplace landscape has now largely shifted, with many employers embracing flexibility through remote or hybrid working. Workplace culture is now under a magnifying glass, as understanding continues to grow around factors such as flexibility, employee benefits and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) or ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). This has led to an economic trend sometimes referred to as ‘the great resignation’. Employees now have a heightened awareness of the types of cover they can expect, and what it means for their lifestyle, wellbeing, and the wellbeing of their family. All of this means that employee benefits now play a much greater role in recruitment and retention of talent than ever before.

Group Risk and employee wellbeing

As healthcare services have been severely impacted throughout the pandemic, access to early prevention services and treatment has been significantly reduced, meaning a higher mortality rate and a poorer quality of health more generally. Employees now place a higher value on employee benefits such as Group Risk benefits, which provide support for them or their family during difficult times, but also help to supplement services provided by the NHS.

As the demand for these benefits has increased, so too has the volume of prevention and wellbeing support which is included alongside Group Risk policies. These add-on benefits are highly valued by employees as they provide choice and support their lifestyle, whilst enabling them to live better and learn to take care of their own wellbeing.

From a financial perspective, the range of value add services alongside a Group Risk policy can be utilised to reduce the costs associated with employees taking sick leave, by sufficiently supporting them with their health before the point of making a large insurance claim. As the UK now faces a turbulent economic period, employers will be looking to cut costs where possible. However rather than removing Group Risk policies, these additional services can be taken advantage of to better the productivity of their workforce, reduce absences, and help to retain employees by providing them with the choice and support which they could otherwise seek elsewhere.