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Employers increase health & wellbeing support to respond to the changing circumstances of staff

Four in five (80%) employers have increased their health and wellbeing support or employee benefits to adapt to the changing circumstances of their staff, according to new research conducted during January 2023 for GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector.

The research found that over the past 12 months, employees felt that their health and wellbeing had deteriorated mentally, physically, financially, and socially, with financial wellbeing being the area most impacted:

·       40% of employees felt that their financial health had deteriorated.

·       29% felt that their mental health had deteriorated.

·       28% felt that their physical health had deteriorated.

·       24% felt that their social health had deteriorated.

However, over the same period, employers themselves felt their responsibility had most increased for supporting the mental and social health of employees:

·       51% of employers felt increased responsibility for their employees’ mental wellbeing

·       51% felt increased responsibility for employees’ social wellbeing

·       49% felt increased responsibility for employees’ financial wellbeing

·       47% felt increased responsibility for employees’ physical wellbeing

As a result of this increased sense of duty, during the past 12 months, many employers have increased the provision of the health and wellbeing support or employee benefits, that they offer their staff.

In total, 80% of businesses have increased their support for health and wellbeing or employee benefits over the past 12 months. GRiD is pleased to see meaningful changes, including a quarter (27%) increasing their investment in new employee benefits to provide extra support, support being made available for more of the workforce (27%), and also extending support to family members (22%).

However, while GRiD believes that employers are right to adapt to changing circumstances, the industry body feels more could be done.

Twenty-four percent of employers have responded positively to employee requests for changes in health and wellbeing support, however  three quarters (76%) have not. With financial wellbeing the area of most concern for employees, it would be good for employers to provide support here.

Similarly, 20% of employers reported that they have increased access to funds to pay for support directly, but unlike offering employee benefits, such as private medical insurance, or group risk benefits (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness), funding support directly on a case-by-case basis can be expensive. It’s also difficult to budget for, as no employer can predict how many staff will need support in any given year or for how long that support will be required.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “A crystal ball would be hugely beneficial to help plan ahead for employees’ needs but in the absence of any ability to see into the future, employee benefits must be all encompassing to support all areas of health and wellbeing. This time last year, interest rates were still quite low and the full impact of the current cost of living crisis was not known and so it’s understandable that employers were not as focused on supporting financial wellbeing as they might be now.

“It’s important that employers do not try to second guess what employees need but listen to their current concerns. Many employee benefits, such as group risk products, are all inclusive in terms of the wellbeing support they offer. This means that no matter what happens within a business, or what external factors employees face, support is available across all pillars of health and wellbeing to ensure all staff have access to the comprehensive support they both need and deserve.”


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1. The research was undertaken by Opinium from 9-22 January 2023 among 503 HR decision-makers and from 10-13 January amongst 1,212 employees at UK businesses. For further information please contact: Sharon Mason SMUK Marketing and PR [email protected] Mob: 07747 611773 Land: 01252 843350 Katharine Moxham Spokesperson for GRiD [email protected] Mob: 07887 512508 Notes for editors About GRiD Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries and those operating in (or with other interests in) the UK group risk market. Together this forms a collective wealth of experience built over many years. Under the chairmanship of Paul White (head of technical, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers. GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry’s standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute. GRiD’s media activity aims to generate a wider awareness and understanding of group risk products and their benefits for employers and employees. GRiD’s dedicated spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, provides expert media comment on a full range of group risk issues. Follow Katharine Moxham on Twitter @KMoxham

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