By Andrew Drake, Head of Making Friends at PES
It’s so important to create an environment where employees can be at their best at work every day. Thankfully more and more employers are realising this.
But how is it done? There’s one essential tip to remember. But first, here’s a familiar story that might help to illustrate the point.
Getting it not quite right…
Let’s say I work for a professional services firm which funds my health and wellbeing benefits – my Private Medical Insurance (PMI), a health cash plan and income protection. All part of a wellbeing package you might expect in this sector.
One day I get an excruciating pain in my lower back that makes it difficult to even sit down. For fear of being accused of absenteeism, I still force myself to stand on the tube for 45 minutes to get to work. I sit in a standard and uncomfortable chair and take some anti-inflammatories hoping that it will subside in a day or two.
I then spend another 45 minutes getting home and followed by a poor night’s sleep due to the pain. I repeat this cycle through to Friday. In a couple of weeks I finally get in to see my GP, who in turn refers me to a physio that I have to wait six weeks to see.
But it’s ok! My company is committed to wellbeing, so we have a beer trolley on a Friday, an onsite gym and fruit baskets! All great wellbeing perks. The trouble is, I can’t drink because of the painkillers, nor can I use the gym since I’m in agony, and the fruit doesn’t really solve my problems.
This may sound ironic, but it’s not an uncommon scenario. You can substitute some of the details like where the pain is, how long I commute for, and by which mode of transport. But I’m sure any HR professional reading this will wince, knowing that one or more people in their business has probably been through something like this in the last 12 months.
What does better look like?
We all know there’s a better employee experience to be had. What might that look like?
Well I could, for example, use the virtual GP that comes with my PMI policy to get an appointment with a medical professional within a few hours. They could refer me to the appropriate specialist which would be covered by the PMI.
Even if this benefit weren’t in my package, I could still access a virtual GP at a reasonable cost and then use my health cash plan to see a physio and claim reimbursement for the cost.
Within 48 hours I would have spoken to/seen more than one professional who will have reassured me that this is just a minor issue that can be fixed quickly with the right treatment.
And I’d have peace of mind because I would know that there’s an income protection policy in place to safeguard me and my family if it turned out to be more serious than first diagnosed.
What’s the difference?
So what’s the difference between the two scenarios? That’s a big question, but assuming the these wellbeing benefits are in place, I believe it comes down to one simple yet often overlooked basic – how you tell people about what they’ve got.
This doesn’t mean just saying, ‘Hey we do PMI, a cash plan and income protection.’ It means helping employees to really understand what these benefits are, and why they might make a difference to their wellbeing.
Technology is a wellbeing basic no business can afford to ignore
What’s the easiest way to do that? Through technology. So many businesses are falling in to the ‘late adopters’ or ‘laggards’ category in the technology adoption bell curve. They’re short-changing their employees by not making wellbeing benefits readily available and easy to understand.
Technology is the unsung hero of any wellbeing strategy. We all use it – why not weave it into your wellbeing plan? For example, if my employer delivers my employee benefits on a technology platform with an appealing, easy-to-use interface, I’m much more likely to log on and find out what’s there. I’ll be able to see all my great wellbeing benefits at a glance, read user-friendly online guides and upgrade my cover without filling in endless forms.
What’s more, I’ll get regular reminders about great deals and discounts, frequent newsletters and eye-catching news about what’s on offer – and I can access what interests me by simply clicking a link. I’ll probably be a wellbeing-savvy employee – and a happy one too.
Don’t miss the digital boat
The fourth industrial revolution is digital, and yet so many businesses are failing to embrace it. Those who are have educated employees who know which benefits improve their wellbeing, and why. What’s more, they’re enjoying all the great business benefits that come from having happy people.
Why not join them?
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Delivering a great employee experience is a challenge for growing organisations. At PES, it’s what we do. Our online employee benefits platform, HR support and workplace wellbeing services bring out the best in your employees – enabling your business to thrive.
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