Offering added-value health and wellbeing benefits that promote good health and prevent illness are increasing among employers as they look to improve their support of staff and differentiate their remuneration packages from competitors in a bid to seek new talent, but they need to carefully manage the quality and quantity of partners they select.

At present there are rich pickings for employers in terms of the sheer volume of health and wellbeing benefits that can be offered, which should in turn lead to better health outcomes for staff. However, the real value of these services are not equal, so employers need to be discerning in their selection to ensure they are adding support that is of genuine value.

Employers are absolutely right to offer extra support to their employees as this benefits the health and wellbeing of their employees and reduces absence, but they need to ensure that the services will be utilised. Adding early intervention and preventative support means employees can see take control of health issues at an early stage, avoiding absence and potential insurance claims

While light touch support may be adequate in many scenarios, employers need to be confident that the additional support they offer is sufficiently comprehensive to be able to refer more severe cases onto a service that can provide a greater depth of support.

When selecting support providers, it’s important that quantity of partners does not triumph over quality.

Identifying quality in added-value support

When investigating new benefits to offer, we urge employers to investigate quality and satisfaction levels, as these metrics will give the employer a better understanding of the quality and perceived value of that support.

As is befitting of many support services, tech is a great enabler making it relatively easy for new providers to enter the market. However, a slickly designed app or benefits platform can belie the true extent of the underlying support. If it is not underpinned with personalised support from medical specialists, it cannot fully cater for more serious medical conditions and may struggle to deliver in improving health outcomes.

Dovetail support

Employers are also warned to be wary of cross-overs between multiple added-value providers. Not only are numerous relationships time consuming to manage, having several different services requiring separate access is confusing and cumbersome for employees. Given this is likely to be at a time when they are least able to cope, this can easily lead staff to disengage.

Adding health and wellbeing benefits to packages for reasons of improving employee health, and for marketplace differentiation are not mutually exclusive. Working with the most relevant suppliers cohesively means  that employees are more likely to engage and employers will ultimately see the benefits in terms of less absence, better engaged employees and standout against their competitors.

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