Five steps for the success of your international SME’s whole health plan

Five steps for the success of your international SME’s whole health plan

Introducing a company health programme is an initiative that has a positive impact on employees’ overall well-being, as well as a key action in retaining and attracting talent, particularly in SMEs with workers in different markets.
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But what should you focus on when it comes to implementing them? Here we reveal five key steps that are necessary when designing a health plan for your SME. Take note!

Implementing a Whole Health programme is now more than ever one of the best ways to lead small and medium-sized enterprises to success, by putting the emphasis on its employees’ well-being – which is a key concept, particularly in companies entering overseas markets. But when it comes to designing and implementing these plans, many questions may arise, such as: Am I catering for all my expatriate employees’ needs? Are the measures appropriate? Is my company’s wellness plan based on the full health picture? 

These are some of the frequently asked questions which we at Cigna would like to answer by revealing the key aspects that must be considered when designing a health plan for your international SME. The first thing is understanding what a Whole Health plan actually is. In order to be defined as such, what does it need to achieve?

It’s very simple. All the areas that make up an employee’s life –from their physical and mental health to their financial health or access to care– are interconnected.  A change in one of them can have a knock-on effect on the rest. So when a company adopts a holistic health care approach and caters for all these areas, it will be perceived by its employees as a company that cares about them and they will feel supported and protected. This perspective is key when it comes to workers who are thinking of taking the step of moving abroad. The uncertainty that comes with moving home, together with being away from friends and family, is an additional emotional burden that companies should carry.

This holistic approach to health, of course, has a very positive knock-on effect. If expatriate employees feel that their well-being is a priority for the company, their overall satisfaction will improve, as will the work environment, their motivation and, as a result, their productivity. This will in turn put the company in a better position to increase its international competitiveness and achieve high economic returns. Bearing this in mind, the big question is: How is this holistic approach adopted correctly when defining a health and wellness plan for an international SME?

At Cigna, we have vast experience in helping SMEs on their path to success by placing the emphasis on the health of their employees, whether they are based locally or on international assignment. In addition to developing solutions and services for SMEs in keeping with the highest quality parameters and tailored to all needs and budgets (if you would like more information, click on this link), we have helped many of these companies that are present in different markets to develop their own Whole Health and Wellness plans. And we know that there are five key steps that must be followed when implementing programmes like these:

1. Find out what the specific challenges of each expatriate employee and the entire workforce are.

When implementing a health and wellness plan, it is necessary to understand what each employee’s concerns and specific challenges are, including those of employees taking part in an international mobility programme, as well as the preferences of the entire workforce. Remember that this must be based on a global perspective: their personal situation, the stage of their life they are going through, whether or not they have family obligations of any kind, if they are under financial stress – these are all variables that you must consider to get a clear image of your team's well-being.

2. Identify potential areas for improving aspects of their physical and mental health.

In addition to matters relating to adopting a healthy lifestyle, it is also important to assess the impact that new hybrid work environments can have on expatriate workers’ health, particularly when it comes to matters relating to stress, the strength of their social ties or their ability to disconnect from work. This simply involves carrying out a health and well-being assessment in the form of a questionnaire, to understand the main areas for improvement. At Cigna, health and well-being assessments (Health Risk Assessment - HRA) are a very useful tool at this stage. Leave us your contact number here and we will call you to tell you more with no obligation!

3. Plan and schedule all the actions that you would like to carry out.

All actions carried out must be scheduled based on the time frame for preparing, implementing and measuring them. That way it will be possible to keep to the schedule and not skip out any steps when implementing the plan, particularly when the aim of these initiatives is to involve workers in different markets.

4. Create a panel with measurement indicators.

In many cases, the evaluation of wellness programmes is overlooked. However, this is the most important step when determining the effectiveness of the health and wellness interventions proposed in every country where the SME is present; quantifying the costs and return on investment; and resolving any issues that have not worked or that have not been implemented properly. That is why at Cigna we recommend creating this panel when designing the plan itself, so that it can be added to as the programme progresses.

5. Appoint a health team responsible for implementing wellness actions.

Being a small or medium-sized enterprise, with presence in various markets and not having, due to a lack of resources, a wellness department, does not mean an ad hoc team cannot be set up. It is important that there are always individuals appointed to make appropriate decisions, launch the different health initiatives or measure the results and collect the necessary information regarding expatriate employee feedback, the achievement of objectives or the level of participation.

Lastly, one aspect that makes a difference in terms of the success of an international SME’s Whole Health plan is having a partner that specialises in health services and looks at the full wellness picture. This is particularly important against the current backdrop, when it is necessary to maximise care for expatriate employees and, in many cases, the resources, know-how and advice required to achieve this are not available.

If you are thinking of implementing a plan like this, Cigna is your perfect partner. We firmly believe in looking at the full health picture, and through our wide range of solutions, which can be adapted to suit all budgets, we respond effectively, whatever the needs of your employees on international assignment.

Contact us by clicking here and find out all that we can do for you. You are in good hands. Take the step now and drive your business towards success.

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