Beware pitfalls of not personalising health and wellbeing support for employees

RedArc is warning employers to be aware of the pitfalls of not personalising health and wellbeing support for employees. There are many employee benefits that employers have access to, and an increasing use of technology, all of which can be a great support for wellbeing, but it is not a substitute for personalised support in the event of employee illness, injury, trauma or bereavement.

As experts in supporting employees at difficult times in their lives, the nurse support service wants employers to understand that whilst developments such as apps and bespoke wellbeing platforms are easily accessible and efficient in flagging up potential conditions or risks, if the functionality does not extend to bespoke support then it will be lacking.

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “When someone either recognises they need support, or a technology solution highlights a potential red-flag, the individual needs help and reassurance from a real human being with expert knowledge relevant to their specific circumstances. Relying on tech where all staff have the same experience, and without human intervention, may mean the most appropriate support is not delivered.

“In fact, relying entirely on tech without the addition of bespoke emotional and medical support is not simply failing employees but it also has associated risks for the employer too.”

Seven avoidable pitfalls of non-personalised support:

1. Non-personalised support could lead to longer employee recovery times, as without human intervention it may take additional time to reach the right solution. Most people don’t know what help is available and what would be most appropriate for them.

2. Non-personalised support can make it more difficult to implement a joined-up approach which combines a range of treatments effectively for better results for employees. When feeling very unwell, trying to piece together a range of services can be nigh on impossible for the individual to do themselves.

3. Non-personalised support could provide a quick-fix to a more superficial issue without addressing a deeper seated, underlying problem which could then lead to repeat episodes. This is especially true of mental health issues and can be disruptive to both the employee and employer.

4. Non-personalised support could be perceived as an employer failing their duty of care to their employees and affect their reputation. Not only does this present employee retention problems but could also have a detrimental impact on the employer’s ability to recruit new talent as well.

5. Non-personalised support could be more expensive for the employer in the long term. If a staff health-and-wellbeing issue is not resolved, and if bespoke support is not available within existing employee benefits, the employer may decide to support the employee by funding care on a one-off basis which can be more costly.

6. Non-personalised support can make tailoring a return to work more difficult for the organisation, and this can create more challenges for HR teams and line managers. Individuals often need significant support to return to work after a long period of absence.

7. Non-personalised support may mean that an employee is likely to lean on employee benefits and group insurances such as private medical insurance and group risk for longer, which can then increase premiums in future years.

Christine Husbands continued: “From the smallest of start-ups to the largest of organisations with many thousands of staff, it’s important that employees are treated as individuals on a day-to-day basis and even more so when they are struggling with health or wellbeing concerns.

“Employers are absolutely correct in deploying technology to roll out support widely to staff but they need to ensure it is backed up by human experts who, when necessary, can tailor and personalise that support for the most effective results for all.”