As the emergence of another COVID-19 variant means employers head in to 2022 with yet more uncertainty, we would like to offer employers three employee benefit related New Year’s resolutions that make good business sense during the unpredictability of a pandemic: 

Think the unthinkable 

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the old ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude as most people have had to face up to the fact that it could. For an employer, unthinkable questions could be, ‘What will happen to the business if we lose a key person?’, ‘Can the business afford to pay out for a death or for long-term sick leave?’ and ‘What sort of help should the business provide?’. 

If these questions set any alarm bells ringing then it is probably time to make some relatively inexpensive changes to an organisation’s benefits package or to the insurance in place to protect members of staff and the business against financial loss.  

Peace of mind is a highly valued commodity during uncertain times, so it makes good sense to generate some for both the business and its people by removing some of the mystery around what is there for when the unthinkable happens. 

Choose to be a nurturing employer 

A valued employee will be engaged and productive which is good for business. Employers who take this approach to staff will have little to fear from the current ‘Great Resignation’. However, if employees are re-evaluating what they want out of life and work, as many are, and if they don’t see their employer as having been particularly supportive during the pandemic, they may look elsewhere. 

Three quarters (73%) of employers believe the pandemic will mean long-term changes in the way they support the health and wellbeing of staff, with 71% of employers believing the pandemic will mean a continued uplift in checking in with staff as a way to support them. 

Employers should look to the additional help and support that accompanies existing benefits. For example group risk benefits have embedded services such as an Employee Assistance Programme, HR and line manager advice, online GP services, second medical opinion services and physical and mental health apps. These types of support saw exponential increases in interactions during 2020 and 2021. 

Being a caring, nurturing employer should always be a priority but employers really need to walk the walk at the moment to ensure they don’t lose key staff. 

Shout it out 

If an employer has put measures in place to both protect and nurture its staff, it needs to be bolder in communicating this support so that staff can derive maximum benefit from everything that is in place. 

If employees are pointed in the right direction and communications are little and often, then they remember to use the support and help when they most need it.  

In addition, developing an external communications strategy is also important in order to win the attention of an organisation’s next generation of employees. 

If a business is doing great things for its people in terms of looking after them in the present and protecting them from unknown future events, then they need to shout about it. This, in turn, drives engagement and appreciation which aids productivity, attraction and retention. 

All employers had hoped to be heading in to the new year without the ongoing threat from the COVID-19 virus but as it looks like we could be in for another bumpy ride in 2022, employers would be wise to focus their New Year’s resolutions around their virus-weary staff.