Richard Branson is one of Britain’s foremost entrepreneurs. Virgin Rail, Atlantic and Galactic have revolutionised the travel sector. Virgin Mobile remains a global communications powerhouse more than twenty years after launching.
His understanding of modern business is unparalleled. During 2018’s Pendulum Summit he offered insight into the building blocks needed for a successful company: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
This message continues to resonate with industry titans. CIPD’s 2021 research found that 75% of senior leaders were focussing on improving employee wellbeing - up from 61% the year before.
And yet uncertainty remains. Companies cannot agree on what a successful health and wellness (H&W) strategy looks like. Reframe has been working to redefine what effective, mature employee benefits packages look like.
So what has caused a shift in thinking - and how can companies navigate this new landscape?
Leave The Past Behind
This review into H&W isn’t unprecedented - the signs promoting change have been there for some time.
But COVID’s arrival brought the subject into the spotlight. The war for talent has greatly intensified - companies need to offer greater flexibility in this post-COVID environment.
Hybrid working offers many benefits - but employees run the risk of becoming isolated.and any employee health can be less visible to managers The sudden migration out of the office has reignited the conversation surrounding how businesses should invest in employee benefits.
Employers historically argued that pension schemes and sick pay options were sufficient support. The stark reality is traditional structures - such as private medical insurance (PMI) and employee assistance programmes (EAP) - don’t go far enough.
The ‘one size fits all’ mindset is outdated. Leaving it in the past is best for employers and employees alike. Workforces are unique - each employee requires their own bespoke assistance. Greater awareness surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has brought this into sharper focus.
The question is - how can businesses transition towards a more well-rounded offering?
Building Blocks For Success
Adopting an integrated approach to employee wellbeing is paramount.
This holistic perspective provides employers with a platform to provide tailored support across the whole wellbeing spectrum - rather than focussing solely on the physical side. Morgan Stanley’s research found that 79% of HR Executives believe employees will depart if their financial benefits are lacking.
Modern H&W packages must be all-encompassing. Reframe’s 5 Pillars of Employee Wellbeing is a framework that guides this restructuring process. The 5 elements are:
- Social: ensuring employees are valued - and visible - in the workplace
- Physical: ensuring employees are physically capable of enjoying life
- Financial: ensuring employees are financially secure
- Emotional: ensuring employees have positive mental attitudes and a sense of purpose
- Professional: ensuring employees have a voice - and can communicate freely
Employers should be sensitive to negative life experiences - and their wide-ranging impacts on employees. Critical illnesses - such as cancer and fertility issues - take a physical toll. But they are also emotionally draining and could create financial problems.
Change Is In The Air
We aren’t discussing theoretical changes that may - or may not - come into play in the future.
Employers are already making progress in breathing fresh life into their H&W strategies. Goldman Sachs now offer medical support for employees undergoing sex reassignment surgery. This personalised support is the future - a reflection of the changing social landscape, it puts inclusivity at the top of the agenda.
The writing’s on the wall for employers - re-adjust to the new status quo or risk falling behind. 2021’s ‘Great Resignation’ was fuelled by employees’ reluctance to be kicked around any longer. With 79% of the UK’s workforce acknowledging they’ve experienced burnout previously, caution is advised.
This is the optimal moment for companies to invest time, effort and resources into nurturing positive workplace culture. Zoom’s rise in popularity has facilitated the creation of a transactional atmosphere - employees now find it easier than ever to walk away.
Businesses are at a crossroads. This could be a defining moment, an opportunity to showcase both integrity and humanity to the world - if you take the time to hone your H&W strategy. Reframe’s 5 Pillars of Employee Wellbeing can be the catalyst for meaningful change, ensuring your H&W strategy helps all those in need.
What Are You Waiting For?
Branson didn’t make his fortune by sitting on his laurels - his methods were all about proactiveness. Don’t wait for your employees to bring their concerns to your doorstep. Benefits packages shouldn’t only be spoken about when the sun is shining - they deserve to be prioritised now.
Your H&W package has a major impact on your employees’ lives. The onus is on you to improve your offering so that it encompasses all aspects of the wellbeing spectrum. And Reframe’s 5 Pillars of Employee Wellbeing can be the strong foundation for meaningful change that you have been looking for.