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12 Apr 2024
by Emma Capper

Top tips for avoiding overlapping health and wellbeing benefits

With businesses looking to save money, employee benefits need to account for every pound spent on them

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In an economic climate where every penny counts, businesses eagerly await projections of falling inflation and lower interest rates for the UK economy.

However, amid these prospects, SME businesses face escalating costs, with 58% of companies citing it as their top concern, according to research from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

And, despite a recent global CEO survey from EY suggesting a “quiet confidence amongst UK business leaders” at the start of 2024, 96% are considering restructures or hiring freezes, a reduced focus on learning and development and a move from permanent to contract workers.

Among the areas ripe for savings are employee benefits and wellbeing, where overlaps can lead to double payments for the same service, leading not only to unnecessary costs, but also potential employee confusion.

Conducting a strategic review will help companies better navigate these services more efficiently, enabling them to help identify duplication, save costs and improve engagement.

Overwhelming choice

There’s the vast range of health and wellbeing products available, all with slight nuances, unique value and potential gaps.

This can often leave HR professionals overwhelmed with choice. This complexity can lead to companies inadvertently purchasing benefits without realising they may be available elsewhere, such as insurers offering employee assistance programmes as group risk policy add-ons.

Additionally, businesses may sign up for services on an ad hoc basis, especially when different teams are responsible for benefits and wellbeing.

For example, an individual may introduce a new service, like a meditation app, without ensuring its alignment with the wider health and wellbeing strategy and without realising that they have access to one already through an insurance product.

Top tips for streamlining benefits:

1. Conduct a comprehensive review

Start by examining all benefits to clarify offerings and identify potential overlaps. This involves a thorough evaluation of insurance products and value-added services, extending to standalone health and wellbeing services implemented outside core benefits offerings.

2. Identify gaps in provision and use

Once a business understands what benefits it have, it can identify gaps in provision and where they may be paying for services twice.

They will also need to determine whether the added value services cater to the entire workforce or only insured employees, which may not always be the same. Looking at usage levels will also pinpoint benefits less valued by its workforce, or potential communication gaps where employees simply are not aware of a benefit or how to access it.

3. Compare services or products

Comparing services or products is a vital aspect of the review process.

Take, for instance, the comparison between two virtual GP services: if one is bundled with an insurance product, it may not be the premium version and could be restricted to those insured under the policy.

A standalone option may be more expensive, but may offer a more comprehensive service.

Assessing offerings, accessibility, coverage, service levels and financial implications is crucial for making informed decisions.

4. Due diligence on stand-alone products

Firms should do a comprehensive due diligence process of all providers that they are working with on a standalone basis to ensure service quality and reliability.

Part of this process should be comparing other providers in the market and assessing their proposition on its merits, reviewing their financial strength and looking at their management information.

5. Improve engagement and communications

Looking at engagement and communication as part of the review process is important too.

An effective communication strategy is essential in helping employees understand all the benefits available and how they can be accessed.

A great way of supporting your employees in accessing the right benefit at the right time is to create care pathways for them.

These help employees to easily identify what support they need, when they need it most and direct them to where they should be accessing this.

A review enables firms to streamline benefits as well as minimise duplication and control costs.

Savings can be reinvested into employee benefits and wellbeing or to address any gaps in provision.

Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing Ltd provides robust review support and guidance in navigating the complex employee benefits and wellbeing market.

For more information, visit: www.howdengroup.com/uk-en/employee-benefits.

In partnership with Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing

Howden provides insurance broking, risk management and claims consulting services, globally. We work with clients of all sizes to provide dedicated employee benefits & wellbeing consultancy.

Contact us today