Although countless surveys and column inches have been written about health at work and absenteeism, there has been scant analysis specifically focused on SMEs.
However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) survey suggested health in the workplace does have a role to play. This highlighted better communication around the rights of employers managing returns to work and facilitating better understanding between GPs and businesses – focusing on more straightforward advice on fitness for work in the medical certificate.
SMEs are just as exposed as larger companies to the risk of losing key staff to more attractive employers – a poll of 530 HR and other professionals by recruitment firm Personnel Decisions International found employers are keen to spend more time working on retaining key staff – with close to a third rating ‘accelerating development’ followed by ‘competitive pay and benefits’ as most important when it came to retaining talented employees.
Offering private medical insurance to employees will help address the quick return to work issue while demonstrating their commitment to being a caring employer.
Another tool that employers can offer employees to improve productivity and engagement is dental insurance. Employers may be surprised to learn that there’s emerging evidence¹ showing a connection between good oral health and good overall health. When detected early, oral health problems can be easily treated and also help employees avoid the costs related to urgent dental care.
So, by offering dental insurance as part of a longer-term strategy to drive down employee absence, employers can also positively impact staff costs and a company’s profitability. Having a comprehensive dental plan that encourages early diagnosis of potentially expensive medical conditions may even help keep private medical insurance premiums down.
So, it’s clear – healthcare benefits may be the ‘armoury’ that carries employers through this economic situation – they’ll help to address employee healthcare drivers and provide a long term cost effective strategy that will demonstrate a return on investment.