Amidst economic pressures and evolving healthcare demands, a forward-looking approach that emphasises both preventative care and specialist support will be vital.
Financial and Physical Wellbeing Support: A Dual Focus
The economy remains a central concern, with inflation challenging both businesses and households. With 1.5 million homeowners facing the end of fixed-rate mortgage deals, employee financial choices will shift significantly, impacting pension contributions and company-paid benefits. Laws underscores the necessity of maintaining competitive pay and incorporating financial coaching to help employees navigate these complex issues.
Concurrently, as healthcare systems face prolonged wait times, employers are urged not to sideline Employee Private Medical Insurance (PMI) despite cost concerns. A balance between cost and access is essential, with innovative cost management, such as optimising hospital networks, becoming a priority.
The Rise of Specialised Support
RedArc champions the delivery of health and wellbeing support by specialists, emphasising its critical role in the health outcomes for employees. Specialised, condition-specific support can facilitate the reintegration of long-term sick employees back into the workforce, a key economic objective.
For serious illnesses like cancer, specialist support is invaluable. Employers are encouraged to recognise the complex challenges faced by employees returning to work post-illness, including the emotional and financial aspects. RedArc anticipates employers and insurers will place increased importance on outcome measurements, ensuring that health interventions are impactful and verifiable.
Preventative Care and Demographic Sensitivity
A ‘prevention over claim’ strategy is identified as a key focus, with Laws suggesting that lifestyle benefits and genetic considerations will soon play a significant role in health management. Addressing specific demographic needs without creating a fragmented patchwork of services is also crucial; well-considered benefits spending can avoid redundancy and inefficiency.
Mental Health and Social Wellbeing: A Growing Imperative
Both Towergate and RedArc foresee a rise in mental health-related absences, with an acute need for qualified specialists to keep pace with demand. Early identification, intervention, and support are paramount.
Social wellbeing will also gain prominence. The sense of belonging, connection, and recognition is set to become an integral part of wellbeing strategies, with businesses needing to facilitate these social aspects, especially in drawing employees back to the office environment.
Communication and Technology: The Digital Connection
Effective communication is essential, with Laws advising the use of technology platforms to reach employees effectively. It’s not about simply joining the digital revolution, but providing genuinely useful interfaces and services.
Consumer Duty and Clinical Expertise
With Consumer Duty at the forefront, RedArc insists on the necessity of partnering with providers equipped with qualified, clinically-trained practitioners. This ensures that the services offered are not just adequate but are tailored to the real health needs of individuals.
Looking Forward: Integrated Employee Health and Wellbeing Programmes
Laws concludes by emphasising the need for all companies to allocate a budget for wellbeing and benefits in 2024, calling it sound business practice. Husbands adds that amidst the plethora of available options, the focus on clinically-trained experts will intensify, ensuring that the support provided is not only expert-driven but also outcome-focused.
This unified approach, highlighting financial support, specialist care, preventative strategies, demographic awareness, mental and social wellbeing, and effective communication, sets a comprehensive path for employers in 2024. Both Towergate Health & Protection and RedArc agree that such a holistic approach will not only enhance employee wellbeing but also contribute to the economic and social strength of businesses and communities alike.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.