The road to a healthy international SME: discover the keys to achieving better business results through employee whole health

The road to a healthy international SME: discover the keys to achieving better business results through employee whole health

The concept of health is changing, which is why we must look at the full picture rather than focusing on mind and body, health and sickness or work life and home environment.
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Looking after employees’ holistic health has therefore become a key element in the people management strategy of any company, and particularly in the case of SMEs with employees on international assignments. But which Whole Health initiatives can help to achieve better business results on a global level with a limited amount of resources? Keep reading!

The benefits of investing in expatriate employees’ Whole health are many. While implementing programmes like these has become key to building a strong corporate culture and crucial for attracting and retaining talent, it is also a very effective way to increase international competitiveness and generate high economic returns. This is because of the close link that exists between health, motivation and commitment, because employees who feel healthy also have more energy to handle professional challenges. And as a result, their productivity also increases, which is key for the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises with workers in different markets.

That is why –and considering that SMEs represent 99% of all businesses both in the European Union1 and in the United Kingdom2– protecting the health of small and medium-sized enterprises’ expatriate employees is the foundation for achieving better business results. But which measures could help further the success of an international SME by means of investing in employees’ holistic health?

At Cigna we have the answer. In order to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with the support they need to achieve success, we have produced a document entitled The road to a healthy SME: A practical guide to achieving better results through employee Whole Health. It is a practical guide with 40 highly cost-effective measures to inspire those responsible for managing people in international SMEs when designing and updating their health and wellness plan. To download your free copy, click on this link

Unlike large companies, the nature of international SMEs gives them an advantage when implementing Whole Health-based initiatives. Here are some examples:

  • Because they have a more straightforward company structure, they have a more thorough understanding of the specific challenges faced by each employee, including those taking part in an international mobility programme, as well as the preferences of the entire workforce. That’s why international SMEs can offer more tailored solutions which are, as a result, more effective.


  • International SMEs enjoy more scope in terms of operation which can expedite the implementation process, and at the same time they also have greater agility when monitoring and correcting possible issues, which is key for those with employees located in different markets.


  • The fact that they have fewer employees makes it easier to perceive success and this helps increase expatriate employees’ participation and commitment.

This guide is therefore the perfect tool to help international SMEs define a health plan that adapts to their particular needs, as it dispels false myths about the size of the investment required. Contrary to what may be believed, implementing a plan of this kind does not require huge financial outlays, resources or efforts. It is possible to achieve great results, both financially and in terms of the positive impact on health, with a small investment.

However, the tailored advice that we can offer at Cigna can make a huge difference and further optimise the results obtained, which is key for SMEs in the process of international expansion. If you are thinking of implementing such a plan, we would encourage you to contact us so that we can help you. Just click on this link and enter your contact details so that we can call you back right away and we can start working together.

Remember that the workplace is one of the areas in which people spend most of their everyday life, whether in person or remotely. That is why investing in expatriate employees’ Whole Health through initiatives such as specific workshops for stress management, financial education or family health care programmes, or even providing access to a Global Telehealth service or psychological sessions, can make a huge difference in the lives of workers who take the step of moving abroad.

And this is because at Cigna we firmly believe in the importance of looking at the full picture of health. That is why the approach of our guide The road to a healthy SME: A practical guide to achieving better results through employee Whole Health is based on a concept of health care which is influenced by many aspects, such as a person’s physical and mental health, access to care, occupational well-being, financial health, family environment, home environment and support network. All these areas are what make up each employee’s world and they are strongly interconnected with each other, as they influence how people think and feel at any given time. It is therefore crucial that organisations are aware that their employees’ lives are complicated, particularly in the case of those who have decided to live abroad, and that problems such as stress can affect their resilience, which has a knock-on effect on other areas of their everyday lives.

At Cigna, we specialise in helping international small and medium-sized enterprises on their path to success. Thanks to our solutions, which are tailored to all needs and budgets, we can offer a wide range of alternatives to meet new challenges associated with Whole Health in the company, regardless of the market in which it is located. Contact us using this link and find out all that we can do to help you achieve success by protecting the health and well-being of your international SME’s most important asset, which is your people. You’re just one step away from achieving it!


1 European Commission. ‘Entrepreneurship and Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)’.

2 UK Parliament. ‘Business statistics’. 22 January 2021

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