Research shows businesses that are committed to supporting their staff’s health and wellbeing enjoy many advantages.
While providing benefits such as income protection insurance is one aspect of this, firms that take a holistic view of employee wellness give themselves a long-term competitive advantage. This is the first story in a two-part series designed to help employers support one of their most important assets, their staff.
According to MetLife Australia’s Employee Benefits Trends Study, stress is a serious problem for businesses. According to the report’s findings, 55 per cent of us feel stressed while at work due to personal finances, work itself and health. The top sources of stress relating to personal finances include concerns about outliving our savings once we are retired, not having enough money to pay bills if we lose our job and meeting out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Additionally, one in five employees claim their ‘personal’ problems distract them at work. For those aged in their 20s to 30s, that figure jumps to almost one in three. These employees are likely to be less productive and have a reduced sense of purpose, which can lead to an increase in absenteeism.
“67 per cent of employers say as more automation is introduced, creativity will be more highly valued”
As employee benefit specialists, Steadfast Life and MetLife Australia are working together to develop solutions for businesses to address some of the major concerns employees have around these issues.
There are many different ways businesses can give staff all the support they need. “Above all, employees want their employer to provide a positive work environment, a competitive salary, training and development, work that provides purpose and relevant benefits,” says Daniel Orrell, Chief Distribution Officer, Steadfast Life.“Flexible work arrangements have been identified as the most important employee benefit, followed by training and development.
Additional leave and super contributions and employer-provided insurance are also essential. The message to employers is how important it is to think about employees’ lives and needs as a whole to give them the support they need,” he adds.
The role of technology in supporting staff
Technological advancements are revolutionising the workplace and redefining where and how we work. This is also having an impact on employee health and wellbeing. Some staff are concerned about the future security of their role. But there is also plenty of potential for businesses to use changes in technology to help support staff wellbeing. For instance, it’s an idea to look for opportunities to move staff into more creative, fulfilling positions as more mundane tasks are automated.
“Employers need to prepare their workforce by re-skilling employees so they are ready to adapt to changing technologies,” explains MetLife Australia’s Head of Research & Insights, André Purtell.
According to the research, 62 per cent of employers say thanks to technology advancements, the ideal candidate’s profile is changing. Additionally, 67 per cent of employers say as more automation is introduced, creativity will be more highly valued. This presents challenges for businesses in terms of upskilling, staff retention and training and development. But staff also have a role to play.
Says Purtell: “While it’s important employers offer the necessary training for employees to work with new technologies, the onus will be on the employee to take part, particularly for younger generations.”
This idea is for employers to foster a culture of continuous learning and look for ways to integrate training into everyday experiences.“Encourage peer-to-peer mentoring within the business and across disciplines so that employees can learn from each other and about the business as a whole. Find training avenues that provide technology-enabled workforce education platforms to keep employees’ knowledge and skills up to date,” says Purtell.
“Above all, ensure training develops employees’ soft skills such as creativity, leadership and communication,” he adds.Providing benefits such as comprehensive training and development helps make employees more productive and engaged.
This, coupled with other assistance such as life and income protection insurance, assist staff to reduce stress and perform to their full potential. This will help not just businesses, but also their staff, survive and thrive into the future.
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MetLife Insurance Limited (ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL no. 238096) issues life insurance.
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The views expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of Steadfast.
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