There is a huge variety of wellbeing support available for employers to offer their staff. This ranges from modest employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to full medical, financial, mental, physical and social support.
The wealth of options available can make it difficult for an employer to decide what support to offer, making the whole subject bewildering. This often leads to either unsuitable options being offered or nothing provided at all.
Discovering employees’ needs
Employers should not go with the first option they are offered nor should they simply follow the current trend. Support needs to be relevant and targeted to the needs of a particular workforce.
Start by engaging with your people to find out what issues they are encountering and what they require in terms of wellbeing support. You need to understand the particular demographic of your workforce, their mental resilience and the risks they face in terms of their health and wellbeing to choose the right option.
A dynamic approach must be taken, allowing support to evolve and adapt with the needs of the workforce.
The simple option is to ask
The easiest option is to run an online or paper survey. This can be anonymous and ask what employees are struggling with, what their challenges are, where they feel they need help that could be provided by the business.
The results often come as a revelation for employers, with the staff needing support in quite different areas from expectations.
How to tailor wellbeing support
Once your workforce’s needs are understood, consider how best to tailor assistance. Risk profiling will allow for a company-aligned strategy and a more tactical approach to offering wellbeing support.
It may be that the workforce is in need of education that can help with prevention to help pick up on problems early on before they become bigger issues, for example. Resilience training and mental health first-aiders would be a good option in this scenario.
The four pillars of health and wellbeing
You should consider all four pillars of health and wellbeing when offering support, as they are all intrinsically linked. These are physical, mental, financial and social.
Particularly with the cost-of-living crisis and energy price hikes, a mental health issue may well stem from financial worries.
Concerns about physical health can also take an enormous toll on mental wellbeing, particularly if employees are struggling to get appointments and care on the NHS, or living with a chronic condition or in constant pain.
In these circumstances, you could choose to offer a virtual GP service, which will provide quick and easy access to medical advice, or more extensive medical cover that will allow for consultancy and medical intervention.
With more people working from home, social wellbeing is also a vital part of the wellbeing mix although it is sometimes overlooked.
Supporting managers during decision making
Of course, the aim of providing wellbeing support is to make employees healthier, happier and more productive so the process of providing support should not become detrimental to the manager themselves.
Pulling together wellbeing support programmes from a variety of service providers can be complex and time-consuming, and knowing where to signpost staff can become challenging.
This is where employers may find it easier to use a benefits platform so that all the details and options are in one place. This can also make the communication of the benefits easier with automated messages and signposting.
A carefully targeted, communicated and up-to-date wellbeing programme will benefit both your people and the business.
Communicating your organisation’s wellbeing offering is a vital part of ensuring its success. Without effective communication, benefits may not be fully valued or even taken up.
Communicating support can assist with employee engagement and provide a crucial connection to help everyone feel part of the team. This is particularly important in hybrid working environments and links closely with social wellbeing requirements of a workforce.
Taking a dynamic approach
Once suitable wellbeing support has been found it’s important to ensure it remains fit for purpose over time. This means a dynamic approach must be taken, allowing support to evolve and adapt with the needs of the workforce. You must continue communicating with your people to ensure your offering carries on benefitting them, especially if it changes to adapt to different needs.
Benefits to the employer
A carefully targeted, communicated and up-to-date wellbeing programme will benefit both your people and the business. Happy and supported employees are more resilient and productive meaning they will bring increased value to the business.
In today’s job market, with good staff so hard to recruit and retain, a strong support package is vital for finding and keeping staff. Different companies will have different resources and budgets. Some will feel they are not able to compete on the same level as other businesses when it comes to wellbeing benefits. But this is where targeted and tailored support is even more vital. Whatever level of support a company is offering, the most important thing is that it is relevant.