Why and how employers can up their game in 2023 to ensure employees have the support they need – experts react

by | Jan 12, 2023

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In today’s challenging economic and business environment, considering how best to support the needs of your team members and implementing your plan is becoming a critical part of business success and staff retention – as well as a foundation of any effective HR strategy.

We’ve asked a selection of experts for their tips on some of things you’ll need to consider and focus on in 2023 to ensure success. 

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for group risk specialists GRiD, highlights areas where she thinks employers might need to focus in 2023 to ensure the ongoing success and stability of their businesses and their teams as she comments:  

“We will see much more on the health, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion agenda in 2023. Covid and the cost-of-living crisis has brought this into sharp relief for employees, employers and government. The fact that the government announced a review of issues holding back workforce participation in October’s Autumn Statement indicates that tackling the record number of people who are economically inactive because of long term sickness will be a focus for 2023, as does the recent launch of the pilot Support with Employee Health & Disability Service. 

 
 

“We also expect to see publication of the overdue response to the Disability Workforce Reporting consultation, which could mean mandatory workplace reporting on disability, at least for employers with over 250 employees.

“Together with a renewed focus on boosting the number of employers signed up as Disability Confident, these measures endorse that much will be expected of employers to support people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to move into and to stay in work.

“The workplace has such a vital role to play in helping people to maintain good health, to deal with ill health at an early stage and to support employees to remain in work. With the advantage of access to embedded additional support services (such as HR support, Employee Assistance Programmes, case management, vocational rehabilitation, second medical opinion services, nurse-led support, fast-track access to physiotherapy, CBT and other talking therapies, online GP services, health apps and so on) employers with a group income protection policy will be well-placed to participate in the drive to reduce ill-health related job loss and to close the disability employment gap.” 

 
 

For Christine Husbands, managing director, RedArc, delivering effective employee support is vital as she comments:   

“The need for good quality, comprehensive and personalised support has never been so great. Recent events such as the cost of living crisis, the economic climate and the growing NHS waiting lists are having a significant effect on many people. And these factors mean that people who need help are struggling even more to get support with their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Many insurers offer mental health support to their customers, but they should take care to ensure that such support is fit for purpose. It is important to appreciate that some support can be very light touch and does not deliver the level of support needed for people with anything more than mild issues.

 
 

“The pressures on the NHS mean that many people are waiting longer for appointments and diagnoses for both physical and mental health conditions. Access to additional practical advice and emotional support from an experienced professional can make a huge difference.

“Insurance is vitally important in these uncertain economic times and insurers have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of their customers, by ensuring that they offer good quality support to customers as well as delivering on the financial claim.” 

Debra Clark, Head of Specialist Consulting, Towergate Health & Protection focuses on the need for personalisation as she explains: 

 
 

“Whilst benefits should be accessible to as many people as possible within a business, if they can be personalised then they will create a bigger impact and deliver a more positive return on the investment made.  One way that personalisation could be considered is looking at risk profiling.  It is well publicised that Gen Z workers have different drivers and needs to the Baby Boomers and providers which can adapt to this expectation will likely be winners.”

Kathy Abernethy, Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Menopause Services at Peppy said:

“Gender-specific support in the workplace is set to be a major area for growth in 2023 and as such, businesses, advisors and providers need to be prepared to respond. It is not enough to offer generic health information or support, if businesses want to make a meaningful improvement to the health and wellbeing of their staff or make a significant difference to business outcomes.

 
 

“There are some very real business benefits to taking a gender-specific approach, but worryingly a number of damaging issues if they don’t, including recruitment and retention of specific demographics. As demand grows, the industry needs to focus its efforts on developing or promoting propositions to support businesses in this area.

“We expect this to be a big focus in 2023 as gender-specific support grows in both importance and uptake. Those who do not follow suit will likely find themselves an outlier in their industry and may need to rethink the way they deliver health and wellbeing support in the workplace.”

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