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    5 ways providers can help you boost your wellbeing initiatives

    Insurers have shifted in recent years into the realm of service provider, as opposed to a sole focus on product. Group income protection (GIP), for example, now comes with a raft of added value benefits that are there for the taking. Employers would be well advised to make full use of these valuable services when planning wellbeing initiatives.

    Workplace wellbeing is a difficult concept to define but it’s probably best described as an environment that contains happy and healthy – aka productive - employees. Companies now offer a range of policies and practices to help nurture such an environment, such as flexible working and healthy living promotions, but how many of them consider enhancing such initiatives using the benefits and services available to them from their GIP provider?

    It would make sense to do so because in many cases it appears that employee perception doesn’t necessarily mirror reality, or vice versa...

    Employers who promote a healthy work-life balance win. They get employees who are more motivated, loyal and productive, so say those who took part in the recent Modern Families Index 2017.

    This report - produced by Working Families, a work-life balance campaign organisation, and Bright Horizons, a provider of childcare services - found that although the term ‘flexible working’ is often bandied about by employers, only one in five families thinks they have sufficient time and money to see their families thrive.

    It’s also telling that the majority of respondents to this survey (60%) said that having a flexible and family-friendly employer would make them feel happier at work.

    So how can providers support employers to help make the most of their wellbeing policies and practices?

    1) Shout about them

    There’s no point having all these great benefits, services, and initiatives in place if employees don’t know they’re there. Some providers offer considerable communications help in the shape of a self-serve communications portal that HR can use to produce their own employer-branded wellbeing packs. This can also include regular employee newsletters and even online employee training seminars on things such as healthy eating and maintaining a healthy heart.

    2) Partner up with your provider

    Where companies have identified a specific need amongst their workforce – stress workshops for example – and want to finance such an initiative, some GIP providers will offer a wellbeing investment matching service. This involves the provider contributing to the initiative too, either bearing 100% of the cost or up to a certain amount, to help keep the costs down for the employer whilst ensuring that their wellbeing needs are met.

    3) Call on the experts

    GIP providers work with a range of independent, third-party experts who are on hand to provide support to your employees before a relatively small issue becomes an almighty big one and then ends up as a claim. Such experts include those who specialise in pathways, rehabilitation and support in the following areas: mental health; musculoskeletal issues; cancer; and chronic fatigue.

    4) Think prevention

    GIP providers offer a whole host of preventative services – included at no extra cost – such as second medical opinion services, eldercare support and also Employee Assistance Programmes. These services are included in the bespoke communications to employees (see point 1 above) and you stand a much better chance of them being regularly used and, hence, valued.

    Access to additional paid-for services are also available via some GIP providers such as interactive health kiosks, allowing individuals to self-test key indicators of their health. It’s a quick and easy early warning system for problems such as high blood pressure and helps engage employees in their own health and wellbeing in the process.

    5) Get some HR support too

    Positive results from wellbeing initiatives depend upon successful launch and implementation. That is another area where your GIP provider can help – from initial and ongoing employee communications, as mentioned earlier, to claims management and rehabilitation services.

    What’s more, your provider should be fully up-to-speed with market and legislative changes so should be able to help keep you up to speed with things like wellbeing-related case law developments and changes to state benefits.