Employers want to provide an engaging package for their people. As part of that package, group risk benefits, such as employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness, throw out a financial lifeline when it is most needed. However, these benefits can be wallflowers because they provide for catastrophic events, and not the everyday.
That is why group risk providers give access to a wide range of supportive services, which complement their offering and help people through difficult or challenging times. These can be used daily by employees, line managers and organisations, even if a claim is never made.
Although many employees are included in group risk benefit policies without actively opting in, they do need to engage with the support that comes along with these products. This can include employee assistance programmes (EAPs), access to talking therapies, mental wellbeing support, practical advice and much more. Employees can only engage if they know about what is available.
Communication, as ever, is key to deriving value from the benefit spend. It is vital to give an employee the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they and their family will be looked after financially if the worst happens, as well as to let them know about all the help and advice available to resolve everyday worries.
Promotion needs to be ongoing; there should be prompts to remember that EAPs can help with the banal as well as the crisis, prompts about the mental health support available, prompts to access help towards better health behaviours, and so on.
Organisations will have their own way of communicating with staff, but those that want to demonstrate they are caring and supportive should give group risk messaging as much priority as, for example, communications around important changes within the business. This way, staff see how seriously a business takes employee wellbeing and its duty of care.
Katharine Moxham is spokesperson at Group Risk Development (Grid)