As UK plc gets ready for a new year, GRiD, the industry body for group risk, is expecting increased focus from the government on financial resilience, and urges employers to be prepared. With the cost-of-living crisis still very much having an effect, people will have to look more closely at their budgeting, and support from employers will be welcomed and increasingly expected.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, says: ‘Employees’ finances have been squeezed for a long time and this has wide-reaching implications on all areas of health and wellbeing, and forward-thinking employers will be looking at how they can help.’

Financial support

GRiD expects to see more focus from employers on employee benefits that help financially, such as everyday discounts, help with travel costs, and benefits that actually provide financial assistance when people need it most, such as life assurance, income protection and critical illness benefits.

War for talent

The war for talent is unlikely to abate any time soon, and in efforts to reach a wider pool, employers will need to look at supporting those with long-term health conditions back into the workforce. This is likely to include access to virtual GPs, support for mental health, fast-track access to physio, second medical opinion, and support for serious illnesses.

Moxham continued: ‘The support needed for those with long-term health conditions is wide and varied, and employers would do well to look at the comprehensive support that can be embedded within other employee benefits which will tick a lot of boxes for them and make offering support so much easier.’

As SMEs compete with larger corporates for talent, they appreciate the need to offer competitive benefits. It’s no longer enough to just compete on salary, and they’ll need to offer benefits that employees really value which will need to include support for health and wellbeing.

GRiD says it’s likely there will be more visible communication on the benefits offered, which will help employers with their recruitment. Employers are also likely to be more creative in the way they communicate benefits to existing workforces as they seek to retain their employees.

Innovations

The trend for developing health and wellbeing support is likely to continue. This will be for both the actual support, such as for serious illness, as well as how it is accessed, including digitally. Such support is likely to be offered within benefits such as group risk and private medical insurance as well as support from standalone suppliers.

Moxham concluded: ‘Innovations in the health and wellbeing space have never been so fast-paced, and employers have never had to rely on their advisers so much to keep abreast of developments. The support on offer is also increasingly sophisticated, so employers are able to target benefits to the particular needs of their workforce – the more targeted the better – and they’ll look to advisers for help.’