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06 Feb 2024

How to get the most from preventative services offered by benefits

From gym membership to financial wellbeing, it’s important to think beyond medical benefits when it comes to preventative healthcare

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Prevention is always better than cure, no matter the area of health and wellbeing under discussion – financial, physical, or mental.

The first step to prevention is ensuring employees know what’s available to them. One of the leading causes of low uptake of employee benefits is that employees aren’t fully aware of what their organisation is offering.

The why and how are just as important. Benefits communication should clarify exactly what’s included with each service, why it matters and how it can improve employee health and wellbeing.

Also remember that financial, physical, and mental health and wellbeing are connected, so a holistic preventative approach is needed. 

The cost-of-living crisis has increased financial anxiety. Money worries feed into the workplace, reducing productivity and can affect mental health. UK households cut essential and non-essential spending, and 42% gave up gym memberships, affecting their physical health.

This is why it’s important to think beyond medical benefits when it comes to preventative healthcare. Corporate gym memberships make exercising more affordable, encouraging healthy lifestyles and preventing many illnesses, but are unlikely to fall into the traditional healthcare benefit umbrella.

Putting together all the pieces

Financial wellbeing solutions such as debt consolidation and salary-stretching employee benefits help make life more affordable, reducing stress – a trigger of mental ill health. We must put all the pieces of the puzzle – the wellbeing pillars – together for optimum employee health and illness prevention.

This is where the importance of the effective benefits communication comes back in.

A digital health platform, for example, is much more than an online GP service. It doesn’t just aid speedier access to medical support when needed. That is one of its primary purposes, but these services also offer app-based support and general wellbeing advice that employees can use daily to enhance their health.

From improving their diet and getting started with an exercise plan to finding the answers to common health queries, digital health platforms are an essential element of your preventative healthcare benefits package.

The same is true for employee assistance programmes (EAP), which, when embedded effectively, are a vital tool for preventing mental ill-health. Forward-thinking EAP providers are calling for employers to use the tools available and reduce the risk of mental ill-health.

They want your employees to pick up the phone and seek support when needed. They’ll provide counselling and create care plans for those in need, but their ambition is for people to seek help before they need clinical care.

Breaking the stigma

Employers play a crucial role here, breaking the stigma around mental health, empowering employees and managers to recognise the signs of mental ill-health, stress, or burnout and encouraging the use of their EAP.

Whether you’re investigating a holistic approach to wellbeing, incorporating physical, mental and financial health, or predominantly exploring medical healthcare benefits, the answer to getting the most from the services is the same.

It takes collaboration and partnership to ensure all parties understand the business and employee needs. It also takes encouragement and regular communication to keep the benefits available at the front of employees’ minds. Aligning solutions with wellbeing campaigns is an effective way to do this.

Always keep the desired outcome in mind, whether that’s helping employees stay healthier for longer, reducing absenteeism, increasing engagement, or attracting and retaining talent.

Viewing these protection and preventive benefits as more than a tick-box exercise is essential. They’re not a ‘nice-to-have’. When used correctly, they make a significant difference to employee health and save businesses money, helping everyone thrive and opening up a world of opportunities.

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In partnership with Pluxee UK

Pluxee UK, is a leading employee benefits and engagement partner that opens up a world of opportunities to help people enjoy more of what really matters in their lives.

Contact us today