Innovative ways to reward employees with health and well-being benefits
February 2024   SMALL BUSINESSES

Innovative ways to reward employees with health and well-being benefits

While a simple ‘thank you’ is often enough to let employees know they are valued, companies can do much more to show their gratitude. With tangible rewards and a culture of recognition that focuses on their health and well-being, staff will be incentivised to go the extra mile.
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It’s no great surprise that health has taken centre stage in our lives. The post-pandemic reset meant this was inevitable. For many employees, their priorities no longer revolve exclusively around work and career – spending quality time with family and friends has become equally important. Events forced us to rethink our lives and make those long-promised lifestyle changes. If we were previously guilty of complacency, the health crisis was the ultimate wake-up call.

This has coincided with a period of unprecedented pressure on public health services around the world. Today, it can take longer to see a doctor or get a hospital appointment with the result that diagnosis, treatment and recovery are also delayed. This situation is unlikely to change and, for many families, the option of paying for private health care is simply not possible. It’s for this reason that the opportunity to access quality care through a company health scheme has become such an attractive staff benefit.

Why company health insurance is a ‘must-have’ benefit

Today, private medical insurance is considered a ‘must-have’ company benefit, one that is key to attracting and retaining the best employees. Findings from our 2022 360° Global Well-Being Survey: Exhausted by work – the employer opportunity told us that 56% of respondents said the type of medical plan offered would be a decisive factor in choosing their next job.

At its core, a company health plan enables employees to see a doctor or consultant quickly if they’re feeling unwell – there’s no long waiting list. Depending on the policy and level of cover provided, staff can also access a comprehensive range of online tools and services designed to speed their recovery and improve their lifestyle. With flexible plan options available, employers are no longer locked into expensive cover they don’t need and instead can select modules, such as maternity care, cancer treatment or mental health support, that best meet their employees’ needs.

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Innovative whole health solutions

At Cigna Healthcare, we do more than provide market-leading company health insurance. We are a health partner to thousands of businesses worldwide. By combining clinical insight and technological expertise, we develop innovative, digital solutions and health improvement tools that help employees remain fit and well. And crucially, these are available 24/7.

We’re also advocates of Whole Health, a philosophy that recognises the close connection between our physical and mental health. This principle is embedded in our health plans and is the reason why they’re so effective and considered such a valuable company benefit. Also, employees can choose their specialist (including their doctor) and have access to the latest services and treatments available on the market.

Today, plans can be customised and designed around specific areas of concern – which are usually identified through health assessments, tests and screenings. This is the first step in an approach built on prevention and early intervention pathways: a health problem can be treated, but wouldn’t it be better to stop it from happening in the first place? To make this possible, employees are given the tools to self-manage their health and well-being and plenty of support to change their lifestyles. For example, with the Cigna Wellbeing® App they can take regular health and well-being assessments, sign up for online coaching programmes and track their biometrics.

Mental health support in the workplace

While the pandemic shone a light on mental health, it’s recognised that employers need to do more to help their staff. Data from our COVID-19 Global Impact Report confirmed this, with 53% of respondents wanting their employer to offer better mental health support – tellingly, only 26% said they felt supported. So it’s clear this is still a work in progress.

That’s why we’ve put our name to an important new initiative to improve mental health support at work. The 5% Pledge challenges senior business leaders to commit 5% of their working hours to support positive mental health in the workplace and in doing help employees cope with their problems. There’s strength in numbers and our goal is to create a community of like-minded leaders who will share best-practice and drive positive change in the workplace. Discover more about this initiative

Mental health services, such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy, are available through our Employee Assistance Programme which provides free, confidential advice to anyone who is struggling to deal with their issues. When targeted correctly, these services have a high success rate. From our 2020 Health & Wellness in the Workplace Report, we know that mental health interventions generated on average an impressive 17-fold return on investment.

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An investment that’s good for people and business

These are just some of the reasons why health-related benefits are valued so highly. At a time when availability and cost can be barriers to accessing the services and help they need, employees have the assurance that their company has this covered.

By investing in healthcare, employers are taking an important first step in creating an empathetic company culture that’s centred on their people. Not only does this fulfil their duty of care, but it’s a decision that will also generate a significant return on investment. And here’s why…

There’s a direct correlation between healthy, motivated employees and improved business performance. When employees feel good, they work better – and levels of productivity and efficiency increase as a result. What’s more, with a healthy workforce, absenteeism, sickness presenteeism and voluntary turnover rates are much lower. All this has a direct impact on the bottom line.

Few would disagree that employees are a company’s most valuable asset, so it’s only right that employers should recognise their contribution to the business and reward them for their efforts. To do this through health and wellness benefits ticks all the right boxes: employees tell us it’s what they want their company to provide and in doing so, employers are responding to what their teams need and, at the same time, making a significant investment in their business.

If you’d like to discover more about our health plans, talk to us today. We are responsible for the healthcare requirements of over 180 million customers and patients worldwide and lead the market in developing cost-effective, sustainable plans that can be customised to include the products, services and tools each client needs.

Cigna Connect is our latest solution. Designed for small businesses, our Connect plans fill a gap in the market for simple, affordable and flexible health insurance that offers outstanding cover and great value for money.

Discover what makes Cigna Connect the choice of SMEs around the world

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