Will your reward spend bring you results, from lock down to long-term?

As businesses gear up for more change this year as furloughing ends, redundancies loom and remote working becomes a more permanent feature for many, business recovery now rests on having healthy, safe and motivated employees. Various reports indicate that better communication of existing benefits and well-being programs is now the number one priority for HR. But does the actual reward package need a rethink and restructure first? Are existing priorities misaligned?

There’s a common misconception that well-being programs are too costly. But, arguably, they’re only too costly where benefits are ill thought through and not communicated well. For example, it’s telling that large employers pay an average £1,953 per employee per year on one-off rewards, such as celebrations and vouchers.1 When, for a third of that cost – around £650 per employee per year – they could have life insurance, income protection and critical illness cover.2

Such a package – communicated in a personalized and targeted way – would not only afford the business and its people financial peace of mind, but would also give employees the tools they need to help keep happy and healthy: for example, immediate-access to legal, financial, physical and emotional information and support via Employee Assistance Programs. Plus access to second opinion services, mental health diagnostics and action plans, eldercare support services….The list goes on.

Support back to work & beyond

Where a specific need is identified and embedded services cannot meet that need, some insurers will even contribute funding to help ensure that cost isn’t a barrier to accessing essential well-being support.

This is what Generali did with the launch of its pioneering Well-being Investment Matching initiative a couple of years ago. We partner with a range of nationwide and accredited well-being partners to help support clients with everything from facilitated mental health awareness training to financial education.

Generali’s latest partner, just announced this month, is Bupa. Now, a range of Bupa’s employer-funded well-being services are made accessible to our group income protection clients, where a need is identified. These include:

  1. COVID-19 Support Services – from return to work online risk assessments to antigen testing and a range of temperature checking solutions.
  2. Smart DNA – via one swab, obtain a personalized health and well-being program for employees, focusing on mental and physical health plus nutrition. From a COVID-19 risk perspective, Bupa says this will help provide support mechanisms to improve underlying risk factors.
  3. Health Assessments.
  4. Onsite health checks.
  5. Occupational Health Services.
  6. Remote Physiotherapy Service.
  7. Virtual GP.

Don’t leave employee well-being to chance

Employees increasingly place a premium on how companies care for them. How employers respond to well-being issues like stress, burnout and uncertainty will be a hallmark of their attitude towards responsibility and sustainability. Yet while 61% of people trust their employer to look after their well-being, only 29% of HR leadership have a health and well-being strategy in place.3

During lock down and the height of the pandemic, reports indicated that leaders were realizing the crucial importance of employee well-being to productivity and profitability. The pandemic hasn’t introduced that importance, but it has helped to shine a light on it like never before.

The key now is to help leaders hang on to those lessons learnt. To help them understand that a robust employee well-being program is essential to business recovery. Such a program needs to be built upon a clearly articulated purpose; with a well thought through reward and benefits program at its heart; designed and communicated in line with employee needs; and hardwired to business goals.


1GRiD 2019 Employer Research

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2Swiss Re Group Watch 2020 (average per employee cost of providing group risk: £133 for group life, £313 for group income protection and £200 for group critical illness)

3Mercer Global Talent Trends 2020