Research suggests that happy employees are far more motivated, more productive, and less likely to take days off work, or leave the company for one of your competitors. Alongside providing a supportive and healthy working culture, incorporating wellbeing benefits within your employee benefits package can make all the difference.

According to research by Deloitte, employers would get an average of £5 back on every £1 they invested supporting employees’ mental health, by reducing presenteeism, absenteeism, and staff turnover. In fact, the Centre for Mental Health suggests that UK companies lost £34.9 billion in productivity in 2021, due to mental health issues alone.

No matter how you look at it, it’s evident that incorporating employee wellbeing initiatives into your employee benefits programme is good for you and your employees.

The best programmes enable employees to choose and adapt their benefits package as they wish

Building an employee benefits package

The hard part is building a programme of employee benefits that are meaningful to every individual. We’re all different, so a workforce culture that supports employee wellbeing and mental health must be relevant for everyone. The very best employee benefits programmes enable employees to choose and adapt their benefits package as they wish.

For example, some employees might value benefits that improve their overall mental wellbeing, such as meditation or extra days off. Others may prefer to focus on physical fitness and health, whereas for some employees, the peace of mind that comes from financial security is most important.

Here are a few ideas on how you can create a benefits package that appeals to your employees’ interests and motivations, and meets their varied needs.

1. Focus on mental health

Nowadays, there is much more focus on employees’ mental health, and for good reason. According to HSE, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases in 2021/22, and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.

In terms of providing employees with the right benefits, many businesses have implemented employee assistance programmes that offer counselling and support services for employees and their families.
Some companies are allowing employees to take additional days off. Netflix’s unlimited paid leave is an extreme example of this, where employees are trusted to take as much time off as they need, with no tracking of days and no restrictions. LinkedIn does something similar with ‘Discretionary Time Off’, believing this gives employees the ability to meet their personal needs and allows them to ‘bring their best self’ to work.

Whilst this way of won’t necessarily work in every business – especially smaller companies with limited resources – you might consider allowing employees to ‘buy’ more holiday. You might also want to offer a dedicated wellbeing portal with access to mental health counselling, legal support, financial advice and debt management.

You could also introduce preventative measures such as lunchtime mindfulness or meditation sessions. The Journal of Management recently analysed a whole raft of studies and found that just three minutes of mindfulness a day can make a notable difference to mental wellbeing.

2. Encourage staff to look after their physical health

Helping your employees look after their physical health goes beyond just offering a gym membership. While that’s great, many people are nervous about stepping inside a gym. So, you may instead offer a range of health-focused benefits that employees can choose from, depending on what they are most comfortable with.

For example, you might invite a nutritionist to educate staff on the impact of diet on their wellbeing. You could offer employees private physical training sessions before or after work. Or you might want to include confidential access to services that help employees to stop smoking, reduce their alcohol intake or even prevent drug use.

On a day-to-day level, rather than laying out biscuits, cakes and chocolate as an office ‘treat’, you could consider offering employees free fruit and healthy snacks throughout the week.

Money stresses can have an enormous impact on mental health

3. Include benefits that support financial security

The financial staples most employee benefits packages – like pension contributions, life cover, and private medical insurance – can contribute to employee wellbeing too. That’s because money stresses can have an enormous impact on mental health. According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, 46% of people struggling to manage debt also experience mental health problems.

Financial benefits help employees feel more financially secure. It can provide reassurance knowing that their pensions are being adequately funded for a comfortable retirement, and that their families are protected should they suddenly fall ill or suffer an accident.

4. Educate staff on financial matters

Easing the financial stresses of day-to-day life is about much more than just cash flow. Knowledge is powerful and knowing how to manage your money more effectively can benefit your sense of wellbeing and peace of mind.

You may want to give employees access to a recommended independent financial planner, who can create a plan that allows them to visualise and achieve their life goals. These might include paying for school fees, buying a second home, taking the family on the holiday of a lifetime, or putting the building blocks in place to retire early.

It may also include support for employees struggling with existing debt, or tips on recognising financial scams and online fraud – all anxieties that can seriously affect their output at work.

80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss

5. Create a culture that values employees

Employee wellbeing often comes down to job satisfaction and workplace culture. For many employees, it’s not just about a bigger salary and more responsibility – although a competitive salary is especially important now, as household budgets are squeezed. Employees also want to feel valued at work by their employer and peers.

A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.

Adopting a workplace culture that encourages managers and co-workers to recognise the efforts of individual staff can have a significant impact on motivation, helping individuals to feel valued and, ultimately, satisfied in their roles. This could be a formal employee recognition programme, such as an ‘employee of the month’ scheme, or it could be as simple as saying thank you more frequently or publicly.

Amber River for businesses

Amber River’s financial planners have been helping SMEs and medium-sized businesses with their financial planning needs for over 30 years, including employee benefits and workplace financial education. Our teams can help employers implement flexible benefits schemes, as well as the standard aspects of an employee benefits package like workplace pensions, life cover, and private medical insurance.

Get in touch

To speak to one of our team, arrange an appointment or find out more, call 0800 915 0000, or alternatively use our contact form here.