One area where organisations struggle is calculating a return on investment for well-being initiatives.
In 2018 the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development stated the prevalence of presenteeism in organisations had tripled since 2010, growing from 26 per cent to 86 per cent experiencing it.
In their minds, this is a big challenge that is only growing.
However, in a separate survey by Barnett Waddingham only 23 per cent said presenteeism impacted on productivity.
As many as 28 per cent said it did not, 30 per cent were unsure and 19 per cent did not even know what presenteeism is.
Without a clear set of metrics, ROI and clear language to explain what health and wellbeing and presenteeism are, perhaps we should think differently about productivity.
Should we be thinking at a simpler level: what makes employees happy? Do more of those things.
Then influence the areas of work and life that make them unhappy.
The Willis Towers Watson research evidences:
- Only two in 10 employees report no financial or stress issues – or another way, 80 per cent do
- Two additional days are lost per employee each year with combined health and financial issues
- The two in five who reported both health and financial issues are three times more likely to be disengaged
- This population is 34 per cent more likely to live payday to payday and is two and a half times more likely to work past 70
Organisations that invest in health and wellbeing, alongside financial education should be able to benefit from increased engagement and lower absence.
Is having good financial and mental health the basis of happiness and, therefore, engagement?
How can organisations increase the 20 per cent of employees with no financial or stress issues?
Where should organisations start to develop a health and wellbeing strategy?
Strains put on employees by things like debt, housing and landlord disputes, elder and childcare and mental ill health are all things that can be supported by an Employee Assistance Programme.
Many organisations have access to one and it is estimated that 68 per cent of employers offer these services, covering around 13.8m employees.
The EAP Association has launched a RoI calculator.
For organisations that contract directly with providers, there is a clear rationale for investing in this service.
However, EAPs are also used by Group Risk insurers as a way to potentially prevent sickness absence, to support those struggling with their mental health and for all employees to engage with a benefit on a daily basis.
These are provided at no extra cost to the premiums paid and are a great tool to promote.
When people are sick, cash plans and private medical insurance immediately come to mind as ways to avoid long spells away from the workplace on NHS waiting lists, but there are other areas that employers can consider.
Canada Life has had a Second Medical Opinion service since 2006 and has found in some years 59 per cent of service users have a change in treatment and 17.8 per cent a change in diagnosis.
People using the service in 2018 had a 50 per cent change in recommendations for cancer treatment; imagine the impact this could have on employees and their family members.
Questions appear on the last page of this article.