Group insurance schemes become part of the corporate wellness equation

By liamarus, 29 April, 2013

By Mandy Barrett

Group insurance schemes are increasingly becoming part of the overall corporate well-being equation, with more employers taking an active role in not only supporting their employees’ physical health, but their financial fitness too. 

It all has to do with contributing towards the financial stability and peace of mind of employees, which, if neglected, can impact on their performance at work.

The reality is that South Africans are under tremendous financial pressure, which is made worse by, for example, fuel price hikes, water and electricity price increases, high education costs, the rapidly increasing price of food and basic necessities.  By adding a group insurance scheme to the host of other employee benefits, such as retirement and health care, you, as the employer, are able to remove, or at least mitigate, your employees’ anxieties about protecting their personal assets, usually with much lower premiums and better benefits than they could obtain on their own. 

Any efforts to reduce your employees’ financial strain are welcome and much-needed relief in the current environment. It also an attractive staff-retention benefit in addition to the usual retirement, health care, life and disability offerings.

Group insurance schemes are not the only solutions for employees’ financial concerns

These schemes are part of a much bigger picture of employee benefits.  But these do address some of the major financial anxieties among staff by assuring them that their private assets are protected and will be replaced if these are lost or damaged as being under-insured can have devastating financial consequences.  This in turn will impact on your employees’ work performance and productivity if their personal finances are in turmoil.

This peace of mind has to be seen as part of the overall wellness equation which includes physical, emotional and financial aspects. These benefits, along with other HR interventions, can be recognised by companies in lower staff turnover, greater productivity and skills retention and in turn, better service delivered by a more stable and loyal employee base. 

Without a doubt, such a comprehensive employee benefits offering plays an important role in improving a company’s marketability as an employer of choice among job seekers, which is a major asset in skills-starved South Africa.

You can’t afford to ignore your employees’ financial challenges

As South Africans have high levels of debt and credit-worthiness issues, it's now a moot point if employers can sustain increased workplace demands without more support for financially strapped employees. The question that HR professionals have to ask is if their employees are thriving under the demands of today's fast-paced, changing business environment, or if they are they struggling to cope against a backdrop of increased personal financial pressure where they may not be in proper control of their finances, debt and savings.

The HR-related challenges in the current environment are huge and multi-faceted, and require holistic solutions to generate stability and security among employees.  For your employees to perform at their best, they need an integrated approach to their overall work and personal wellness, whether it’s health, financial, social, family or career.   

Given this scenario, it’s obvious that incentivising employees with a well-structured group insurance scheme within the context of a wellness programme can make a positive contribution to your bottom line.  Being able to offer more benefits and greater cost-savings for employees is a win-win for all concerned.  Given the direct and indirect cost-savings offered by group Insurance schemes, these schemes are ultimately not only the more cost-effective choice for employees, but the rewards go far beyond what money can buy.

Read more articles about employee benefitshere.



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