Good Intentions

I read somewhere that a third of New Year’s resolutions are broken within a month of being made.  Many of the resolutions which were made a couple of weeks ago are likely to relate to some aspect of health and wellbeing, whether it’s giving up smoking, reducing alcohol intake, joining a gym, taking more exercise generally, or whatever.  Even though sometimes these good intentions may not last long, they are evidence of a growing concern with personal wellbeing, and with an emphasis on prevention.

In my last post I mentioned a fascinating survey[1] on employee benefits.  Among other things, this concluded that the promotion of health and wellbeing was the third most frequently cited aim of employers introducing employee benefits, after improving engagement and retaining talent.

Prince Harry’s revelations concerning his own mental health difficulties are proving enormously important in breaking down the stigma previously associated with seeking help.  In fact, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Sir Simon Wessely, has said that the prince’s comments achieved more in 25 minutes than he (Sir Simon) had in 25 years, in terms of raising the profile of mental health and the value of counselling.

Whether the problem to be dealt with is mental or physical, simply getting an appointment with a GP these days is likely to take a couple of weeks or more, and obtaining speedy access to this sort of primary care has increased in importance as a consequence.  The survey reported that 45 per cent of employees taking part would like access to a virtual GP service, giving them quicker access to medical advice, but less than 30 per cent of employers in the survey offered this as a benefit, and only 10 per cent funded this for all employees.

[bctt tweet=”carefully measure the uptake of benefits to ensure the best possible fit between what’s being provided and what’s actually used” username=””]

Clearly, not all employers could afford this sort of service, and even large organisations can’t afford every conceivable benefit, so it’s important to ensure that the benefits being provided are those which employees value most, and make use of.  At the risk of being branded a bit of a geek when it comes to data analysis, I think this simply emphasises the importance of carefully measuring the uptake of benefits to ensure the best possible fit between what’s being provided and what’s actually used.

If you’re in doubt as to which benefits employees would be prepared to forego in order to introduce something regarded as more important, then as I said in my last post, just ask them!

Richard Scott is Head of Research for HR in Flow and People in Flow. For more information please contact
[1] UK Employee Benefits Watch 2016/17, Thomson Online Benefits

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