Looking after employees over the long-term will always win out
It’s become almost a cliché to declare that we are living through unprecedented times, and it would be hard to describe our current economic turbulence in any other way. The impact of these challenges go way beyond people’s finances.
Economic challenges and mental health
This World Mental Health Day, employers need to be more aware than ever of the link between financial strain and mental wellbeing. Analysis of the impact of the 2008 recession on mental health in the UK found that economic downturns increase the risk factors for depression and anxiety in the population, as people become more concerned about their personal financial situations. Recent data from Bupa UK Insurance reflects this, with claims for mental health issues rising by 40% in three years. The ongoing economic turbulence is likely to continue this trend.
It is in difficult times like these that the relationship between businesses and their people become even more important. If the past few years have taught us nothing else, it’s that the responsibility of an employer goes way beyond the pay cheque. In today’s world, employees want and need to know that their employer is going to support their health and wellbeing, as well as their finances.
And, as the latest data from the Bupa Wellbeing Index shows, if employees see this support they are much more likely to stick around. More than two-fifths (42%) of the 8,000 UK employees included in the Bupa Wellbeing Index said that they would be more likely to remain in their role if they were offered health and wellbeing benefits by their employer. This is an important factor when many businesses are struggling to hire and maintain enough staff.
The value of benefits
It is undoubtedly a challenging time for many companies, managing through cost inflation and also for many, acute challenges in attracting and retaining the right people for their business. We are seeing many companies respond to this challenge by improving the benefits they offer their people, and it’s not hard to see why.
Almost a third (28%) of employees said they would feel more valued within their organisation if they were offered certain benefits by their employer such as a workplace pension, with almost a fifth (19%) saying that health insurance is a priority.
Bupa’s own data supports this, with the demand for health and wellbeing benefits at an all-time high.
And when available as a workplace benefit, health insurance is used widely by employees – more than two-fifths (42%) of those surveyed said they had used their workplace health insurance in the past 12 months. This means that health issues are dealt with quickly, and employees can get back to work, faster.
Long term thinking adds long term value
It’s clear that despite the unprecedented events of the past three years, we are not yet out of the woods. Employers and their workforces are still dealing with the ‘long-tail’ mental health impact of the pandemic, while grappling with the economic uncertainty of current times. While organisations are understandably focused on managing financial performance, our data shows that also keeping up their support for their people over the long-term by supporting them to prioritise their health and wellbeing, and that of their families, will always win out.
Alex Perry, CEO for Bupa UK Insurance