The landscape of the workplace has changed in recent years. An increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion was already at play before the COVID-19 pandemic came along, altered perceptions of productivity, and shone a light on the work-life balance and employee wellbeing.
In the modern employment climate, companies are also realising that their people are the pivotal components of their business that push forward growth and allow their organisations to thrive. Therefore, their employees must be looked after.
This shift has led to a rise in employee health benefits becoming a more prominent part of employee job offers and prospective candidates looking at more than just salary when it comes to what organisations can offer them. For example, research by the Page Group found that 78% of Britons would be more likely to apply for a job if the advert mentioned the benefits on offer.
What are employee health benefits?
Employee benefits are not uncommon and are the additional perks that are given to employees over and above their wages. These can be anything from free drinks and snacks in the office to life insurance or stocks and shares.
Employee health benefits encompass those benefits that specifically relate to promoting and maintaining the physical and mental well-being of a workforce. Types of employee health benefits include:
- Gym membership
- Free flu vaccinations
- Dental care
- Eye care
- Private medical insurance
- Counselling / therapy
- Fertility benefits
Why are health and wellness benefits for employees important?
Employee health benefits are important for a multitude of reasons and can impact both the employer and the employee in many positive ways.
At a wider level, employee health benefits can boost overall morale, make employees feel more valued and generally contribute to a more unified workforce. In addition, they foster an environment of respect for oneself and each other and place higher importance on personal wellbeing than output.
This actually leads to employees being naturally more productive as they are happier. A study by the Social Market Foundation and the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy at the University of Warwick for instance included 700 people and found that workers were up to 12% more productive when given perks.
Employee health benefits are also important for:
Talent acquisition: A good employee benefits strategy is one of the best ways to attract top talent to your organisation. Prospective candidates now look at more than just the salary offered and whilst employee health benefits are an incentive in their own right, they also show job searchers that a company values inclusion, equity and diversity in the workplace.
Employee retention: Research conducted by Willis Towers Watson found that 75% of employees would be more likely to stay with their employer if they offer a good employee benefits package. Retaining employees results in lower training costs, a stronger company culture, more highly skilled staff and better overall employee experiences.
Saving money: Employee health benefits can help staff stretch their wages further which is more important than ever given the ever-increasing costs of living. They can also help employers save money as health benefits reduce sick days and turnover rates, lowering overall costs per hire.
Promoting better mental health: By providing employee health benefits, you are showing that you care about wellbeing and employee needs, and this in itself can improve mental health. Health benefits can also offer peace of mind to employees, and reduce the stress they may feel about the expense of certain treatments such as dental work or fertility assistance. Offering access to mental health services as part of your benefits can also help to reduce the stigma of mental health conditions and allow for more transparency in the workplace.
Overcoming health inequality: Health inequalities include such things as life expectancy, access to health services and the quality and experience of care. Employee health benefits can help overcome these by providing access to and covering the costs of healthcare regardless of an employee’s age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.
Examples of health and wellbeing benefits
Across the globe, businesses are leading the way with the employee health benefits they are offering as well as companies who are helping them to do this.
Fertility benefits enable businesses to support their employees with their family planning including those who are experiencing infertility, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those who are looking to adopt. Here at Apryl, we help employers promote fertility equality through the provision of comprehensive fertility benefits. Employees can access complete and personalised guidance, unlimited consultations, lab testing and diagnostics and treatment such as IUI, IVF and egg freezing.
With 36% of those living with cancer of working age and 85% of employed people stating it was important for them to continue working after receiving their diagnosis, there is clearly a need for cancer support policies in the workplace.
Perci Health is one provider that enable employers to offer virtual cancer support to their employees from professional and friendly cancer specialists. This support is not just for those who receive a cancer diagnosis but also for their families, friends, and carers.
Reproductive health issues affect a huge number of people, with one in seven experiencing fertility issues and four out of five women suffering from hormonal imbalances.
Specialist health benefits not only cover infertility but also other reproductive health issues such as menopause, endometriosis and PCOS.
For some individuals, their monthly period can be anything from painful to completely debilitating. Fortunately, companies are beginning to realise that menstruation and its symptoms can make coming into work incredibly difficult.
Modibodi, which makes absorbent period apparel, is an excellent example. The modern company allows its employees to take ten days of paid time off for menstruation and menopause symptoms or if they have suffered a pregnancy loss, giving staff the option to work from home if they are experiencing discomfort.
Whilst policies for miscarriage and stillbirth leave are more prominent in the employment sector, some employers are now offering abortion leave too. The LadBible Group have recently introduced abortion leave whereby employees are entitled to ten days of annual leave to access and recuperate from an abortion procedure. In addition, they are also allocating a travel allowance of up to $10,000 (£8368.90) in situations where an employee lives in a location where abortions are banned.
The company follows the likes of Channel 4 and Monzo who also offer paid leave for pregnancy loss, which includes loss as a result of an abortion.
Those going through menopause can experience a vast array of symptoms including irregular bleeding, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, night sweats and hot flashes. Such symptoms can be uncomfortable, stressful, and embarrassing but there are workplaces worldwide that are introducing menopause support to help tackle taboos surrounding the subject.
John Lewis has recently implemented a holistic menopause support package which includes advice and training for managers, nutrition guidance, health information and advice, access to free mental health support, and help from its in-house occupational health and wellbeing team. What’s more, the company has also updated its flexible working and time off policies to encompass those dealing with the condition.
If you want to find out more about implementing employee health benefits, and more specifically, fertility benefits, why not get in touch? We can help you create a family-friendly, employee-focused workplace and support you in rolling out your benefits programme.