Survey finds that dental benefits improve employee morale and reduce sickness absence

The percentage of companies that believe dental benefits improve employee morale has risen from 51% in 2008 to 67% in 2010, according to healthcare provider Simplyhealth’s Annual Dental Survey conducted by Opinion Matters.

The survey, which polled 250 HR managers and more than 1,000 working adults in the UK, also found that 66% of companies believe that dental benefits reduce sickness absence, up from 30% in 2008. Forty-nine percent of HR managers said they would implement dental benefits out of concern for the oral health of employees, up from 41% in 2008.

Additionally, the survey shows that 71% of HR managers are concerned that employees cannot afford to maintain their oral health and 74% believe it is the responsibility of the company to look after the oral health of their workforce.

However, one in ten companies surveyed now discourage their employees from attending dental appointments during working hours, a figure that has more than doubled since last year’s survey, which came in at 4%.

James Glover, corporate sales and marketing director at Simplyhealth, said: “It’s clear from these findings that companies are bothered about their employees’ oral health but have needed to tighten their belts and restrict time away from the workplace.

“With more people struggling to find an NHS dentist, 39% up from 35% in 2009, offering dental benefits can allow employees the option to visit a private dentist outside of office hours. In fact, of the companies that offer dental benefits, 37% have found it easier to control time off for dental appointments, 41% have seen a reduction in time off due to dental health problems, and 47% have seen an increase in employee engagement. This benefit can therefore strike the balance between adding value to your employee wellbeing package but also that all important bottom line.”

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